Cable Mills, Williamstown, Massachusetts
In the far northwest corner of Massachusetts, across the street from the prestigious Williams College, stands a complex of mill buildings that Dave Traggorth believes represent the future of housing.
Traggorth, a real estate developer with Traggorth Companies, explains, "Cable Mills offers single-level living with elevator access and no maintenance worries. It is within walking distance of Wiliamstown’s main street. It is in a major cultural center and is across the street from Williams College, where Williamstown residents have open access to the facilities and classes." No wonder Cable Mills is attracting residents from all over the country.
To Traggorth, the development also represents smart growth on two fronts. "Williamstown is beautiful, but there is not a lot of housing. When Hurricane Irene came through and wiped out Spruces Mills, it heightened awareness of the need for affordable housing." Many of Cable Mills’ 61 units are affordable. Equally important, the development transforms a set of vacant buildings into an economic driver for Williamstown. "The property has been shut down since the early 2000s. Now it will not only deliver a real estate tax base, it will have 120 residents who can walk out their door and eat at a great Thai restaurant, get a cup of coffee, see a movie."
It’s a nice bonus that the 9-acre Civil War-era mill complex is on the National Register of Historic Places, and boasts beautiful details that have been carefully preserved.
Still, it hasn’t all been easy. “The project ran into unforeseen difficulties when the original developer died,” Traggorth says. BlueHub Capital, which began working on the project under its previous name, Boston Community Capital, "deserves credit both for making the initial acquisition loan, and then for sticking with it through a new developer—and through the recession. They continued to keep their eye on the importance to Williamstown of getting this done."
“Without patient early capital these projects wouldn’t happen. They should be commended.”