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Hundreds Of Apartments Planned For Old Chicopee Mills

      Plans to redevelop two old mill complexes are being called a “game-changer” for the downtown of a western Massachusetts city.

     Officials in Chicopee have begun a permitting process to allow a New York City-based developer to purchase the 170-year old Cabotville Mill and build 600 market-rate apartments. Coupled with another previously announced development this would create more than 700 new places for people to live in Chicopee Center.

     " Every city is trying to get people living in their downtown because the spin off helps restaurants, it helps commercial, it helps the downtown corridors," said  Michael Vedovelli, the city of Chicopee's chief economic development official.

       He  said the plans outlined by SilverBrick Group LLC for the 750,000- square foot Cabotville Mill make it one of the largest mill redevelopment projects in New England.

     A local developer is in the process of renovating the Lyman Mills building into 110 studio apartments.

     SilverBrick officials have been tightlipped about their construction plans. Vedovelli said the project is to occur in two phases with 300 apartments created first and 300 later.       

            " And they are looking to start phase one, if permitting goes well and the purchase takes place, in November of this year," said Vedovelli.  " They also have 200,000 square feet of commercial space and 100,000 square feet of light industrial."  

     The Cabotville Mill has been vacant for decades. Ten years ago, the current owner announced plans to build condominiums and stores, but that project floundered. SilverBrick has a track record in the region that includes the redevelopment of a 280-unit apartment complex in downtown Springfield that the company purchased in 2014.

     "So they have success in this area, and are now looking to go after an even larger project," said Vedovelli.

    Chicopee will make improvements to the water, sewer, and electrical service infrastructure for the mill area along the Chicopee River.  The city was awarded a $2.64 million grant from the state’s MassWorks program which pays for job-creating infrastructure projects.

    Governor Charlie Baker came to Chicopee late last year to personally announce the funding award.

     The state legislature authorized $500 million for the MassWorks program in the economic development bill Baker signed earlier this week.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.
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