BANGOR, Maine — Demolition has begun on a rundown Harlow Street building, a site that soon will become home to a four-story, 55-unit apartment complex specifically marketed to the elderly.
Brunswick-based Volunteers of America Northern New England is backing the $11 million project, which has been enthusiastically supported by city officials who say affordable senior housing is sorely needed.
“We’ve done two market studies, the last one in August, and the demand is outrageous,” said Julie Wilcock, vice president of development for VOA Northern New England. “Especially with the way the economy is going, we’re happy to offer an affordable housing option for seniors.”
Bangor Code Enforcement Officer Dan Wellington said recently that the project is consistent with what the city is trying to recruit for its downtown.
“It’s a great project and will fit in well there,” he said.
The 2.4-acre parcel at the corner of Harlow and Curve streets where the complex will be built previously housed a vacant commercial building that was in poor condition. Over the years, the building at 315 Harlow St. has housed a photography shop, a cafe, a tire business and, most recently, it served as a garage for Capital Ambulance.
Wilcock said construction on the 52,000-square foot, rectangular-shaped, half-brick, half-vinyl exterior building will begin later this fall and will last about 20 months. The building was designed by architect Robert J. Foster of Portland and will be constructed by Bowman Brothers Inc., a Newport-based general contractor.
“They are working very carefully on the demolition. That building was done in a piece-meal fashion and we don’t know exactly what’s in there,” Wilcock said. “Environmentally, we want to be good stewards.”
The housing complex is expected to open by June 2010.
The city’s planning board approved the project last fall, but it was held up while the developer worked out an easement with the city for grading and landscaping within the Curve Street right of way. That easement was granted last month.
The housing complex will consist mainly of one-bedroom units and will be available for rent to those over age 62 who meet certain income guidelines, generally about $20,000 for individuals. All of the units will have full kitchens and will be handicapped-accessible. The complex also will have space and a kitchen for gatherings involving residents and groups from the larger community.
For more information about eligibility or applying for an apartment, call VOA Northern New England at 373-1140.