Pittsfield OKs easement to allow improvements along April Lane
PITTSFIELD -- An easement that will allow infrastructure improvements on April Lane is expected to facilitate a multi-million dollar rehabilitation of a 100-unit affordable housing facility.
The City Council approved the city accepting an easement for the privately held April Lane to allow grant-funded street infrastructure work in conjunction with the rehabilitation project.
Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi, in making the request, said the city will be submitting a MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant application this month for funds to upgrade the access street and utilities. A permanent easement to the proposed improvements is required to satisfy a grant provision that the infrastructure site be publicly controlled, he said.
The improvements will be contingent upon the city being awarded the MassWorks grant and upon April Lane being brought up to city street standards.
Continued ownership of the property by the developer will eliminate liability on the city's part regarding any unknown environmental contamination, said city Community Development Director Douglas Clark in a memo to the mayor.
April Lane LLC, a corporation comprised of Rees-Larkin Development, the developer of the Silk Mill Apartments, and Berkshire Housing Development Corp., purchased the 43-year-old facility, now known as Dalton Apartments, for $3.5 million in April.
Clark added that the developer is utilizing local engineering firms and plans to hire 15 to 18 local subcontracting firms for work totaling $4.8 million for rehabilitation of the apartments.
If the MassWorks grant funding is obtained, he said, the city will bid for the infrastructure work, including street, sidewalk, utility, sewer and storm drain improvements, in 2015.
BHDC Executive Director Elton Ogden and Rees-Larkin's principal developer, Jon Rudzinski, attended Tuesday's council meeting. Ogden said the facility has potential but had gone for years without sufficient investment in upgrades.
Rudzinski praised city officials for assistance is putting together the public-private rehabilitation project and in identifying sources of funding.
A loan from the state allowing BHDC to purchase the 11-building complex from Dalton Apartments Limited Partnership of Eastern Massachusetts, $50,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds from the city, and state and federal low-income housing tax credits also were part of the funding package.
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