Who Is the Man Buying Up Providence’s East Side?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
GoLocalProv News Team and Kate Nagle

Burnside House on Benefit Street PHOTO: Flckr, Reading Tom
Quietly, a Fall River, Massachusetts man named Walter Bronhard has been buying up tens of millions of dollars of premium properties on the East Side of Providence. 

Bronhard, who once opened a chiropractic office in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, is now listed as the sole owner of dozens of properties throughout the city and many are clustered near Wayland Square, Brown University, and College Hill neighborhoods. Combined, and conservatively, estimates put the combined property values at more than $50 million.

SLIDES: SEE VALUES OF BRONHARD HOLDINGS BELOW

Massive Collection of Properties

Bronhard's holdings are not limited to the East Side. According to city records, he once owned the historic multi-million dollar Telephone Building on Union Street downtown, but recently sold that property in March of this year. The five-story was rehabbed into top level apartments.

While some of the properties are leased as luxury properties, others are marketed to college students - and the condition of those properties are among those that have come under criticism from neighborhood groups.

His real estate holdings often attract legal wranglings, as Bronhard is involved in dozens of lawsuits with him suing existing and former tenants - and tenants suing him.

“CHNA is currently investigating anti-slum-lord ordinances in other cities in hopes of sponsoring legislation to give the building department broader authority to inspect interior spaces based on repeat violations reported about the exterior,” said Josh Eisen, President of the College Hill Neighborhood Association.

The Providence Preservation Society has also heard concerns from neighbors. “Numerous Benefit Street property owners have contacted the PPS about the condition of multi-family properties and PPS is actively compiling data to see what the extent of that is," said Brent Runyon of the PPS.

Union Street - building has been transformed to high end apartments
As Bronhard’s real estate empire grows, more questions arise. He is rarely seen, and his private persona has becomes almost legendary.

“If a tenant is dealing with repeat code violations they can reach out to the Rhode Island Center for Justice to prosecute repeat offenders under the Landlord-Tenant Act,” said Eisen. “But tenants are often too intimidated or resource constrained to pursue action, so we are seeking to help neighbors ensure these historic properties are properly maintained inside by reporting problems they can see from the outside. Based on the survey completed by PPS, there are currently a lot of exterior problems.”

Bronhard did not respond to email and phone requests by GoLocal. 

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza
Maxing Out, and Unvailable 

Campaign finance records show that Bronhard has given $18,000 to Rhode Island candidates and elected officials.

Bronhard's donations include annual $1,000 donations to Providence Mayors Angel Taveras, Jorge Elorza and to Governor Gina Raimondo. 

Editor's Note: A previous version stated Bronhard currently owns the Telephone Building.  At the time of publication, the tax assessor's office available online shows Bronhard still owning it; however it was purchased on March 31, 2017 by Telephone Building, LLC. 

  • 19 Benefit Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Residential 

    Appraised Value: $447,500*

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 34 Benefit Street

    Location: East Side of Providence

    Category: Residential

    Appraised Value: $1,155,700* 

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 110 Benefit Street

    Location: East Side of Providence

    Category: Residential

    Appraised Value: $842,500*

     

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 122 Benefit Street

    Location: East Side of Providence

    Category: Residential

    Appraised Value: $688,300*

     

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 161 Benefit Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Residential 

    Appraised Value: $1,073,900*

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 12 Cady Street

    Location: East Side of Providence

    Category: Residential 

    Appraised Value: $460,100*

     

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 280 Benefit Street

    Location: East Side of Providence

    Category: Residential 

    Appraised Value: $599,500*

     

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 308 Benefit Street

    Location: East Side of Providence

    Category: Residential 

    Appraised Value: $887,700*

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 344 Benefit Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Residential

    Appraised Value: $630,400* 

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 372 Benefit Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Residential 

    Appraised Value: $521,400*

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 376 Benefit Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Residential 

    Appraised Value: $668,400*

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 378 Benefit Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Residential: 

    Appraised Value: $673,200 *

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 167-169 George Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Residential 

    Appraised Value: $389,700 *

     

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 23 James Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Residential

    Appraised Value: $503,200

     
  • 266 Wickenden Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Residential: 

    Appraised Value: $583,800*

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 169 Waterman Ave

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Residential 

    Appraised Value: $593,800*

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 112 Keene Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Residential

    Appraised Value: $852,000*

     

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 240 Bowen Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Residential 

    Appraised Value: $497,900

    Zillow: $752,344

     
  • 89 Angell Street

    Location: East Side of Providence

    Category: Luxury 

    Appraised Value: $1,591,700 *

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 182 Angell Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Luxury 

    Appraised Value: $1,028,300

     
  • 136 Benefit Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Luxury 

    Appraised Value: $192,700 *

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 296 Benefit Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Luxury 

    Appraised Value: $822,900 *

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 302 Benefit Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Luxury 

    Appraised Value: $758,400 *

     

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 314 Benefit Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Luxury 

    Appraised Value: $1,366,500 *

     

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 350 Benefit Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Luxury 

    Appraised Value: $654,300 *

     

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 335 Angell Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Luxury 

    Appraised Value: $808,800 *

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 108 Waterman Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Luxury 

    Appraised Value: $1,661,000 *

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 110 Waterman Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Luxury 

    Appraised Value: $1,047,300* 

     

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 28 Pitman Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Luxury 

    Appraised Value: $524,800

     
  • 140 Pitman Street

    Location: East Side of Providence

    Category: Luxury

    Appraised Value: $4,212,000*

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 72 Prospect Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Luxury 

    Appraised Value: $1,279,300*

     

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 5-7 Euclid Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Luxury 

    Appraised Value: $676,800*

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 19 South Court

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Luxury 

    Appraised Value:  $488,700

     
  • 21 Planet Street

    Location: East Side of Providence 

    Category: Luxury 

    Appraised Value: $492,500 *

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 110 Union Street

    Location: Downtown

    Category: Luxury 

    Appraised Value: $2,144,900*

    PHOTO: Marcbela (Marc N. Belanger)

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
  • 49 Seekonk Street

    Location: East Side

    Category: Commerical

    Appraised Value: $1,222,200*

     

    * Appraised Value of the City of Providence

     
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