The Mary Street Apartments on Mary Street in Skowhegan are shown Friday. Tenants are expected to start moving in sometime in June. The building will provide 40 affordable housing units. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

SKOWHEGAN — An affordable housing project featuring apartments and studios that are seen as a crucial step toward addressing the area’s housing needs is nearing completion.

“We’re a couple of weeks away,” David Pelton, director of real estate development for the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program, said of the Mary Street Apartments.

Some electrical work and interior decor is yet to be completed, but Pelton said people could be moving into the apartments in June.

The apartments are located at 26 Mary St. in Skowhegan near the Somerset County Communications Center. Pelton said the project is intended for workforce or family housing. While applications are still open to all, he said the 40 units are targeted toward those who make 50% to 60% of the median income for Somerset County.

The company managing the property, C&C Realty Management, had received 30 tenant applications by early this month, Pelton said.

According to an online listing by C&C Realty, there are four studios, 12 one-bedroom apartments, 16 two-bedroom units and eight three-bedroom apartments available. Affordability requirements mean the rent on a majority of the units cannot exceed $627 for a studio, $671 for a one-bedroom, $806 for a two-bedroom or $931 for a three-bedroom apartment.


The rent is higher for eight of the units.

The apartments include utilities, and there is a laundry facility and an elevator in the building, according to the listing.

Scott Thistle, spokesman for MaineHousing, said statewide “there is an ongoing and increased demand for affordable housing” that developers are struggling to keep up with.

The state is short of affordable housing by about 20,000 units, he said. MaineHousing aims to make available an average of about 1,000 affordable units a year.

“What is also important to know is that currently we have more affordable housing development in our development pipeline than we’ve ever had in the last 30 years,” Thistle said.

In the first three months of the year, MaineHousing opened more affordable units than the state agency did in all of 2022, he said. That’s partly due to supply chain issues being resolved and the greater availability of construction workers.


Pelton said the Mary Street Apartments are meeting an important need, but more must be done because Skowhegan should have around 200 affordable units.

A 2021 housing study of Skowhegan conducted by Levine Planning Strategies found that renting households in town are experiencing an “increasing gap between what the median renting household can afford and what is available for them on the market.”

The study found that ongoing infrastructure developments downtown, like the River Park project, will likely increase the demand and cost of housing in the area in coming years, compounding the issue of affordability.

Consultants recommended the town try to ensure “existing residents are not displaced and to encourage developments with below-market affordable housing.”

Jeff Hewett, Skowhegan’s director of economic and community development, said the Mary Street Apartments is one project that looks to address that concern.

“This is going to be a piece of it,” he said. “But I don’t think there is any magic wand of fixing affordable housing for the working people … you could have a facility four times this size and we still wouldn’t have a solution for everything.”

Hewett said to adequately and affordably house Skowhegan residents, “as big a mixture as possible” of high-end, market-rate and affordable apartments and houses is favorable.

Among a number of ongoing construction projects in downtown Skowhegan is the redevelopment of the Spinning Mill, which promises to provide 45 market-rate apartments.


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