BERLIN – Approved residents could begin moving into Cannery Village, Berlin’s first rent-to-own community, before the end of the year.
According to Osprey Property Company, the force behind the long-awaited workforce housing project, six homes in the new development are complete and awaiting water meters and occupancy permits from the town. Andrew Hanson, vice president of Osprey Property, says the rest of the development’s 44 homes should be occupied by spring.
“If it takes longer than that, it’s not the end of the world,” Hanson said. “We want quality tenants.”
Hanson said the project was progressing well and was just a bit behind schedule. He expects work to be done by the end of February.
The main challenge during the construction process, he said, was the fact that infrastructure work was taking place as the homes were being built. Often, site work is done on a property before houses start to go up.
“We lumped everything together,” he said, “and you’ve only got so much space.”
Though crews did occasionally get in each other’s way on the 15-acre site, plenty of progress has been made since work began this spring. The development’s leasing office has also been busy taking applications from potential residents.
As a rent-to-own community, Cannery Village is designed to provide homes to people making less than 60 percent of the area’s median income. Hanson said that so far, about 100 people had applied for homes in the development. They’ve been subject to criminal, credit and income checks.
“The challenge we have is we’re pretty picky,” Hanson said.
He says roughly a dozen qualified applicants have been chosen. While some of the 100 applications are still being processed, roughly three dozen people have been denied approval. Some of those, he said, were denied because they didn’t make enough money, while others were denied because they made too much.
“We all see workforce and affordable differently,” he said. “If they don’t make three times what the rent is, we won’t approve them. We don’t want folks set up for failure. … The goal is to have these tenants switch from renters to home owners.”
Because applicants are still being screened, he encourages anyone interested to enter the process as it’s not too late. For more information, visit www.canneryvillagemd.com.