Conversion Of Downtown Houlton Building Into Apartments Would Help Ease Housing Crunch

The BDN is exploring Maine’s housing crisis from every possible angle, from how it affects home prices, to what it means for Mainers across the state. Read our ongoing coverage here and fill out this form to tell us what you want to know. HOULTON, Maine — Houlton Council is helping a developer seek funding to renovate part of a downtown commercial building into 10 apartments. The city will file an application for a nearly $500,000 state Community Development Block Grant on behalf of Shiretown Properties LLC this week based on the council’s unanimous vote in favor of the action Monday. The council’s decision comes after a tragic three-story multi-unit apartment building fire on Mechanic Street in March killed a 4-year-old boy and left 38 people homeless, making an already serious need for affordable housing in Houlton even worse. Houlton Community Development Director Nancy Ketch said there is a tremendous need for more housing and that the proposed project would convert current commercial space to 10 residential units, with a sprinkler system, energy-efficient upgrades and parking area paving. The new apartments will be built on the second floor of the Key Bank building at the corner of Market Square and Water Street. To meet CDBG guidelines, 51 percent, or six of the units, would be designated for low-to-moderate income individual people or families, Ketch said. Developer John Harvell stressed this is not state-subsidized housing. The vote in favor of applying for the grant money was held after a public hearing. “I am very much in favor of this project.

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