WILLIAMSTOWN -- The developer working to convert a former wire and cable mill on Water Street into housing units said that while it did not receive state money required to start the project this spring, it is pursuing other funding to proceed with construction sometime this year.
During this week's Community Preservation Committee (CPC) meeting, Town Manager Peter Fohlin said Boston-based developer Mitchell Properties needed one final piece of funding in order to begin construction on the Cable Mill project.
"An announcement came out for many projects that were funded, and Cable Mills was not among them," Fohlin said, referring to a press release from the state's Department of Housing and Economic Development (DHCD).
According to the press release, the agency awarded a total of $67 million in resources and tax credits to 23 developments in 21 communities. CPC Chairman Philip McKnight called Cable Mills' absence from the list "discouraging."
Efforts to reach Mitchell Properties Founder Bart Mitchell and Director of Development Dave Traggorth were unsuccessful. In an email sent to Fohlin and CPC members, Traggorth said they are disappointed, but not discouraged.
"We are talking with the state now about solutions that will allow Cable Mills to proceed this year," Traggorth wrote.
"Mitchell Properties continues to apply for and receive historic rehabilitation tax credits from the state's historical commission," Traggorth wrote. The developer is also eligible for additional DHCD funding to be released in late summer, he wrote.
Efforts to renovate the former mill into housing units have been ongoing since Keen Development and the Berkshire Housing Development Corporation acquired the building in 2003. From 2004 to 2006, smaller buildings on the property were demolished, but the death of Keen Development President Robert Kuehn in June of 2006 stalled the project.
Mitchell Properties purchased the building from Keen Development in 2007 with hopes to begin construction by 2009. Under Mitchell Properties' ownership, structural repair work in five buildings was done in the winter of 2009.
But since then, the project has seen several delays.
"The economy crashed, construction costs skyrocketed, all sorts of things happened," Fohlin told committee members. "And in the meantime, DHCD moved on with other projects that were more ready."
The first phase of the project will involve converting the main building at 160 Water St. into 42 housing units. Thirty of those units will be condominiums, and the remaining 12 will be affordable housing. Phase two of the project would include townhouses and duplexes along the Green River.
To reach Edward Damon, email