Williamstown's Cable Mills Project Still Possible

By Stephen DravisWilliamstown Correspondent
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Not much has changed at the former Cable Mills as developers wait on state funding to complete a financing package.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — An announcement of state funding for affordable housing projects last month in Boston did not mention a project currently in development for Williamstown, but that does not necessarily mean the project will not be funded at some point.

The Feb. 7 announcement of $67 million to build or preserve 1,326 units of housing across the commonwealth was referenced at Tuesday's meeting of the Community Preservation Act Committee by Town Manager Peter Fohlin.

Fohlin clarified Friday that the announcement did not say the renovation of the former Cable Mills plant would not be funded. It only failed to list it among the 23 projects in this round of funding.

Recently, other town leaders have indicated privately they have reason to be optimistic the owner of the former Cable Mills, Mitchell Properties of Boston, plans to restart the long-delayed project as early as this spring.

On Mitchell Properties' website Friday morning, it listed the project as starting in "early summer 2013."

Repeated efforts this winter to contact Mitchell Properties Director of Development David Traggorth by phone and email have been unsuccessful.

Some component of the sprawling Cable Mills property on Water Street is to be devoted to affordable housing, in relation to voters approving $1.5 million in CPA funding in 2007 for the project. Town meeting in 2009 OK'd another $167,000 in CPA monies for facade work to stabilize the building.

The planning on the project began more than a decade ago but ran into trouble when the original developer died and the financial collapse hit in 2008. The mill redevelopment is dependent on a mix of public and private financing.

The website for the project refers to a plan for "61 homes within the former mill buildings and 21 homes within new construction."

Among the projects that are on the list announced last month by the commonwealth's secretary of housing and economic development is one project in Berkshire County.

The non-profit Preservation of Affordable Housing LLC will receive $2.75 million in state subsidies and $380,512 in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits to preserve 101 units of affordable housing at the Central Annex/Union Court in Pittsfield.

Tags: affordable housing,   Cable Mills,   

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