BERLIN – Town officials marked the completion of Berlin’s new workforce housing project with approval of a deed of dedication this week.
The Berlin Town Council unanimously approved the Cannery Village deed of dedication May 8. The 45-lot subdivision off Flower Street is the town’s first rent-to-own community.
“What you’re doing this evening is accepting all those improvements we’ve built,” said Andrew Hanson, vice president of Osprey Property Company, the developer behind the project.
The Cannery Village development was originally proposed close to a decade ago by businessman Frank Gunion. Osprey Property Company eventually took over the project and in 2013 developed plans for 44 rent-to-own homes and a leasing office on Cannery Way, just off Flower Street. Construction began in 2015. In spite of difficulties associated with doing the site’s infrastructure work as the homes were being built, the development was gradually completed.
“It was a challenging project,” Hanson said. “A challenging site.”
He added that the positive, however, was that the Cannery Village homes were providing people who made 30 to 60 percent of the area’s median income with affordable housing. The idea is that those individuals will rent the homes for 15 years and then have the option to buy them.
“The goal is to not be a renter forever but to rent that unit and in year 16 consider buying that unit,” Hanson said.
During the lengthy project, Hanson said more than 10,000 emails were exchanged and more than $14 million was spent. He estimated 20 percent of costs associated with the project came back to the town, whether through infrastructure improvements or permitting fees.
“I believe we made a significant investment back into the town,” he said.
Mayor Gee Williams praised the project.
“It’s definitely a very attractive neighborhood,” he said. “There’s an opportunity for a lot of pride and there’s an incentive there to take care of the property.”
Town Administrator Laura Allen said that in spite of initial concerns regarding some of the site’s infrastructure, town officials were now satisfied with the project. She added that there was a two-year warranty associated with the deed of dedication to ensure any as yet unidentified issues were addressed by Hanson’s company.