|Ribbon Cutting Thursday at Williamstown's 330 Cole Ave. Project|
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com|
08:16AM / Thursday, August 26, 2021
|Brand new townhouses at 330 Cole Ave. in Williamstown will be open for public view during Thursday's ribbon-cutting event.|
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- As early as next week, families will begin filling homes built on the site of an abandoned factory near the Hoosic River.
On Thursday at 11 a.m., Berkshire Housing Development Corporation will host a ribbon cutting for its 330 Cole Ave. apartment complex, an affordable housing development that has been in the works for nearly a decade.
Cathy Yamamoto was in the middle of a lot of that work.
“So much time, money, public input, planning and work have gone into transforming this formerly blighted site,” Yamamoto said this week. “It's wonderful to see how many homes have been added and fitting that the ribbon cutting should take place as we approach the 10th anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene's devastation. Let's never forget the trauma experienced by those who lost their homes that day. Every town is challenged by housing issues, and Williamstown continues to meet those challenges in admirable ways.”
In 2013, Yamamoto was chair of the town’s Affordable Housing Committee when it developed a request for proposals to build subsidized housing on the former mill site, which was abandoned by the Photech Corporation in 1989.
The town ultimately selected
the proposal submitted by the Boston-based Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development and Pittsfield’s Berkshire Housing, which last summer
broke ground on a 41-unit complex that includes brand new townhouses and a renovated four-story mill building.
Eileen Peltier, who this spring took over for longtime BHDC President Elton Ogden, said that the first residents will move into the townhouses by the end of the month with another group of townhouses to be filled in September. The former mill building, known locally as “the cube,” will be filled by mid-October, Peltier said.
Peltier said that a national shortage of building materials has not caused noticeable slippage in the project’s timeline.
“I’m sure Allegrone [Construction] would say they have had many challenges, but as far as affecting the timeline, it hasn’t been that bad,” Peltier said. “Just a couple of months. Allegrone did a great job managing the project and getting it done with just a little bit of a delay.
“An old version of the timeline was we would have been opening late June, so a couple of months behind, but that can happen in normal circumstances. We were pretty lucky having a good partner in Allegrone who was working and on top of it.”
Peltier said Berkshire Housing has had “plenty of applicants” for homes in the development.
“But we always encourage people to apply,” she said. “It’s a little hard to anticipate who will qualify and who won’t.”
Thursday’s ribbon cutting ceremony will include an opportunity for attendees to see the insides of the townhouse units as well as remarks from local officials and members of the development team.
“It’s always my favorite part of my work, this moment when you get to cut the ribbon,” Peltier said. “It’s often five, six, seven years of work leading up to that moment. It’s an example of the kind of work that groups like Berkshire Housing can do. No one else would be interested in that kind of project on a very challenging site.
“It’s a great example of Elton’s legacy, a transformational change for a community like Williamstown, taking a site that was pretty much an eyesore and a mess and making it beautiful and giving the opportunity for families to live in Williamstown and take advantage of everything it has to offer. It’s my favorite part of the job.”
People interested in applying for a lease in the income-eligible units can contact Berkshire Housing’s Linda Pensivy at 413-499-1630, Ext. 100, or email her at email@example.com.