40 Rental Homes Proposed For Berlin’s East Side

BERLIN — The Berlin Mayor and Council showed support this week for a proposed $13.9 million, 41-unit development on Cannery Way at Flower Street.
Headed up by developer The Osprey Property Company, the proposed project, named Cannery Village, would provide 40 single-family rental homes as well as a community building.
“This is quality built housing that must be maintained to the highest standard because there is no guarantee in payment of the rent,” said Andrew Hanson, vice president of Osprey.
He told the council that they can expect to see strong short- and long-term returns from the development of the Cannery Village in Berlin. The project would create 49 construction jobs and send an estimated $3.16 million into the local economy off the bat as well as $350,000 in taxes and other revenue. Following that, Hanson anticipates the creation of 12 long-term jobs and an annual revenue of $1.0 million plus $176,000 in taxes post construction.
The units will mostly consist of three and four bedrooms, though there may also be two-bedroom houses built. They will be constructed with stormwater in mind and to a high environmental standard, Hanson promised.
“We’re very proud of building green buildings so this entire community would follow Energy Star so it would be built with a lot of forward thinking, with a lot of energy saving features designed to not only help save energy costs for residents in the long-run but also to do our best to be a good steward of the environment,” he said.
The council was unanimously in favor of bringing the housing into town, especially after they learned that following the first 15 years the rental homes would then be offered to occupants looking to actually buy.
“Affordable housing is a market that we are definitely trying to encourage to move here,” said Mayor Gee Williams.
Williams told Hanson that even before being elected mayor he developed a list of 10 things he wanted to see in Berlin. All but two have been crossed off, leaving only stormwater management, which the council is in the process of controlling, and bringing in affordable housing.
Councilwoman Lisa Hall was also enthusiastic about its potential.
“I’d like to say that I like your project. There are a lot of things that I like about it,” she said. “The main thing is that what Worcester County and Berlin have been lacking forever is workforce affordable housing for the workforce in this community.”
Councilman Troy Purnell complimented the design of the houses and overall village that Hanson gave to the council.
“This is one of the most unique ones that I’ve seen,” he said.
Councilwoman Paula Lynch questioned the support from the town Osprey would be asking for to move ahead with Cannery Village. The requests Hanson presented include support from the town for Osprey’s application for state funding, a reduction of EDU fees for the first 10 lot connections to water and sewer and a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program.
“It seems to me that you’re asking for a lot,” said Lynch.
Williams noted that the support from the town will come to about $170,000 but argued that the benefits coming in from the housing would far outweigh any cost to Berlin, a point that the council agreed with. Hall made a motion to grant the PILOT and EDU fee reduction for the first 10 connections, though the council decided to cap that at $84,000.
The next step will be to pursue state funding, said Hanson. Should everything line up residents could move into the houses in late 2016.