Cable Mills project nearing completion in Williamstown


Photo Gallery | Cable Mills project nearing completion

WILLIAMSTOWN — Brand new rental units in a 132-year-old former factory could be ready for residents as soon as next month.

With nearly all the structural and mechanical work complete at the Cable Mills project, crews are moving quickly on the finish-out work in spaces that are starting to show their potential for atmosphere and spectacular views of the Green River and surrounding hills.

The model apartment was recently completed and furnished to illustrate the possibilities.

The three historic mill buildings on the nine-acre Water Street site are being converted into 61 rental units, 13 of them in the affordable category. It's all part of the $26 million project, which until last year had been in limbo off and on since its inception in 2004.

Once full, the development will swell the Williamstown population by roughly 200 people.

"The cool thing about building this out is finding the views you didn't expect," said David Traggorth, project manager working for property owner Mitchell Properties. "That's been really fun."

The finished product will offer a variety of styles including lofts, townhomes, and flats. The sizes range from about 1,000 square feet to 2,000 square feet.

A tour of the project shows the warming effect of exposed brick walls, and the dizzying views through the large factory windows. Some of them look right out on the Green River rushing through several rocky bends.

In phase one, the three main mill buildings have been renovated and refitted for the 61 rental units, and the entire property is being prepared for the next phases. Phase one also includes installation a riverwalk along the banks of the Green River the length of the property, a project that will begin — along with the landscaping — with the thaw.

In phase two, there will be 21 townhouse style riverfront units built. Phase three calls for the as-yet-undetermined development of the 30,000-square-foot parcel on the southern end of the site along Water Street.

The rental units in the first phase include — along with the large windows with panoramic views of Williamstown — polished concrete floors, wood ceilings, exposed brick walls, elevator service, landscaped courtyards and riverfront walkway; low-energy lighting fixtures, a fitness center and a community room. The facility will be non-smoking and pet-friendly.

Financing for the $26 million project came from a variety of sources, including $1.5 million from the Williamstown Community Preservation Act in support of affordable housing, historic preservation and open space. Another $4 million worth of Federal Historic Tax Credits and $3.5 million in Massachusetts Historic Tax Credits added to the formula, and $1.3 million in state funding to support affordable housing capped off public contributions to the cost.

According to Kevin White, director of leasing for the Cable Mils project through Harsch Associates, 20 percent of the units have been spoken for, with the number of calls from potential residents increasing in frequency as the project nears completion.

The original mill was built in 1873 as the A Loop & Company twine factory, but it closed 10 years later. By 1892, Boston Finishing Works had begun a bleaching dye operation, which ended in 1906. It was later taken over by the Boyd Corduroy Company in 1912 as a weaving and finishing mill. It held on until it closed as a result of the Great Depression in 1930. In 1936 the plant was bought and enhanced by Cornish Wire, which sold it to General Cable Co. in 1984. General Cable closed in the early 1990s.

In 2003, Robert H. Kuehn's company, Keen Development Corp., bought the property from General Cable for about $400,000. Demo work had been started when Kuehn suffered a heart attack and died in 2006.

It was sold to Mitchell Properties in 2007 for $3 million.

Lease rates are as follows:

Market rate units: One bedroom — $1,490 to $1,775; two bedroom — $1,635 to $2,325; three bedroom — $2,625 to $3,300. Affordable units: one bedroom — $1,125; two bedroom — $1,343; three bedroom — $1,543.

For more information: Call Kevin White, director of leasing, at 413-458-5000 or visit


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