After 20 frustrating years, this downtown waterfront brownfield will be revitalized with affordable housing and river walk

On January 14, 2020 in Massachusetts, the Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire (CDCSB), and co-sponsor / developer Berkshire Housing Development Corporation, announce the closing on all financing for its Bentley Apartments affordable housing development at 100 Bridge Street in Great Barrington.

Cleanup underway at the brownfield site.
Photo courtesy CDCSB.

The location is a brownfield site that had been contaminated by the New England Log Homes manufacturing plant that used to operate there. The city has spent some two decades looking for a way to repurpose, renew and reconnect (AKA: the 3Re Strategy) that site. They’ve finally found it.

The project provides 45 new affordable apartments for families with incomes of up to approximately $53,000, in the core of downtown on the Housatonic River. Construction has commenced with the site work for the initial building. Apartments will be available by late spring 2021.

The closing signifies the completion of the complex funding process from 14 separate local, state, federal and private funding sources including: Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, MassHousing / Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Great Barrington Community Preservation Funds, Berkshire Bank, Federal Home Loan Bank Boston, Redstone Equity Partners, TD Bank, Dorfman Capital, and the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation.

This was a very complicated closing, given the challenges of the site,” said Timothy Geller, CDCSB Executive Director. “We are especially grateful to Mass. DHCD for their commitment and support through this process.

Bentley Apartments is meeting the growing challenge of affordable housing that faces 40% of the working families in the southern Berkshires, and helps address our slowing regional economic growth. The 45 apartments include twelve 1-bedroom units, twenty-two 2-bedroom units, and eleven 3-bedroom units, with universal wheelchair access. The project also includes a 1-acre restored Riverfront walk along the Housatonic River.

Bentley Apartments exemplifies community-centered, low-carbon-footprint development,” continued Geller. “It provides high quality, extremely energy efficient units with walkable access to jobs, services, shopping, cultural amenities, Berkshire Community College, parks, houses of worship and Town Hall.

The Bentley project team includes: CDCSB, co-sponsor/developer and management agent Berkshire Housing Development Corporation, MBL Housing and Development, Dietz & Company Architects, Foresight Land Services, Furrow Engineering, Stockman and Associates, Saloomey Construction, site contractor DR Billings and the legal team of Nolan Sheehan Patten, LLP of Boston.

The CDCSB is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating job opportunities, promoting economic development, and building low-moderate income housing in the southern Berkshires. In collaboration with other local organizations, CDCSB has helped build over 60 affordable housing units, leveraged over $36 million in private and public funding for south Berkshire County and has a current development pipeline of 114 new affordable housing units.

Featured rendering courtesy of CDCSB.

See Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire website.

See Berkshire Housing Development Corporation website.

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