Case Study: Ruth Lewin Griffin Place

portsmouth, nh: eat. shop. live?

Not affordably, some say. Enter BankProv.

The city of Portsmouth is one of New Hampshire’s most desirable locations with its countless, unique fine dining establishments, entertainment offerings, arts, culture and nightlife. That’s why it has been the home to BankProv for decades. In 2019, the Bank fully embraced the city by moving its corporate, executive headquarters to a new building downtown.

It’s well known that Portsmouth has wrestled with an imbalance between housing demand and affordability for decades. High land costs, challenging permitted and limited capital have all contributed to the city’s inability to add new affordable housing units for nearly 30 years.

BankProv had known since the late 1990s that the city’s local businesses–many in the hospitality industry—were having difficulty attracting and retaining a stable work force, partially attributing the issue to high housing costs. Because of this, BankProv made a commitment to address the capital needs of its own community.

when the community calls, we respond.

To address the growing needs of the community it serves, BankProv partnered with the Portsmouth Housing Authority (PHA), a local nonprofit that develops and manages quality affordable housing, to meet the capital needs of a new 64-unit workforce housing development located in the heart of downtown Portsmouth.

With years of work and dedication on the parts of both Steve Scott, SVP, Commercial Lending, and Carol Houle, Chief Financial Officer, BankProv provided a consolidated package of construction and permanent financing, both debt and equity, and sponsored the developer’s application for capital subsidies through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston.

“This was the essential ingredient to achieving financial feasibility for this essential community investment,” said PHA’s consultant, Peter Roche of Development Synergies LLC. “BankProv’s investment of debt and equity in this critical workforce housing initiative is a clear illustration of the Bank’s leadership and commitment to its goals,” said Roche.

“It speaks volumes about the leadership team at BankProv who were quick to roll up their sleeves and do some hard work to help make this project a reality,” added Craig Welch, Executive Director of Portsmouth Housing Authority & PHA Housing Development LTD. “Adding to the supply of workforce housing in Portsmouth has been a long standing community priority, but no one has been able to figure out how to do it until now. Not only did BankProv’s financial support get us here, but their responsive and talented team at our side gave us the confidence to pursue something this complex and ambitious. We’re grateful to have BankProv so invested in our community,” Welch said.

the development.

The development, to be known as Ruth Lewin Griffin Place (aka Court Street Workforce Housing) will be located within steps of the BankProv regional headquarters and key employers to meet the needs of entry level workers from the retail, hospitality, cultural and civic sectors of the local economy. The development will also be the first New England pilot for a new strategy to offer modest scholarships to residents who live in the development and continue to pursue their educational and/or technical development in partnership with the local community college.

“BankProv has clearly demonstrated that with appropriate leadership and strategic investment, financial institutions can meet the goals of both stockholders and community ‘doing well by doing good’,” added Roche.


Read more about this project in the  Portsmouth Herald.

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