A second phase of the Cable Mills development project, consisting of newly built apartments and duplexes, is nearing completion. Sales will start late fall and winter.
The development, located on Water Street adjacent to the Green River, opened its first apartments last spring and is already close to full occupancy. The initial project consisted of converting the three original mill buildings into apartments and townhouses. These ranged from lofts to three-bedrooms and incorporated modern materials and energy-efficient upgrades. The new phase consists of entirely new construction.
According to Dave Traggorth, project manager of Cable Mill’s development team, the project will bring 20 new condominium units to market that augment the 61 rentals in the original mill buildings.
Fred Puddester, vice president for finance & administration and treasurer at the College, noted that the new construction is slightly different from the initial phase.
“The expansion is for duplexes, which are different from the apartments in the mill buildings, but not that different than the townhouse-type units in one of the mill buildings,” Puddester said.
The new buildings — divided into the River Houses and the Modern Mills — were constructed with the lush natural setting in mind since they are located along the Green River.
“A primary design objective is to respond to the natural surroundings — river, meadow and woods, as each unit will have three separate recessed terraces to help bring the landscape into the homes,” Traggorth said.
The original project, as well as the new phase of development, represents fresh new options for residents of Williamstown. The mixed-use nature of the complex combines several different styles of living spaces that cater to a broad range of needs and is defined by its historic mill architecture: high ceilings, large windows and exposed brick.
“It’s a unique alternative for rental housing in Williamstown,” Puddester said.
While the College is not involved with the development of the project — the construction is a private operation coordinated with the town’s zoning board — it has already reserved 10 apartments for its faculty and staff rental program in the original mill buildings but has no plans to acquire space in the new construction.
With the completion of this new phase of construction comes a new chapter in the site’s extensive history. Cable Mills, built in 1873 as the third mill in Williamstown, has manufactured everything from twine to cable wire. After gradually falling into disrepair in the 1990s, plans emerged for a residential conversion around 2002. The project weathered many challenges, including the financial crisis of 2008, before construction was started on the first phase in late 2014. It was completed earlier this year in May.
Puddester views the project as a productive use of what was previously becoming an unattractive lot.
“The Cable Mills project represents a great reuse of an existing mill building that was a bit of an eyesore,” Puddester said. “It is a significant addition to Water Street and will greatly improve that section of town and increase the tax base.”