WATERVILLE — The Planning Board got a first look Tuesday night at plans for two housing projects that would bring 43 apartments to the city, with board members saying the projects are much needed and welcome.

The board had many questions about the projects, particularly a proposal by Kennebec Valley Community Action Program to build a 37-unit apartment building with affordable units at 52 King St.

The other proposal is by Tom Nale Jr. and his sister, Tracy Nale, to build six downtown apartments on the second floors of 103-109 Main St.

Engineer Jeff Allen of A.E. Hodsdon Engineering Consultants represented the developers for both projects. He said KVCAP proposes to demolish two buildings at 52 King St. and 24 Gold St. to build a three-story building to develop 37 affordable apartments. The parking lot would have 83 spaces, he said.

“The units will be a mixture of one- and two-bedroom (apartments), and a few three-bedroom units for larger families,” Allen said.

He said the project is still in the conceptual stages and would require KVCAP seek funding. Planning Board approval would allow KVCAP to seek loans and grants.


David Pelton, KVCAP’s director of real estate development, said the construction period would run about 12 to 14 months.

“Next summer is the soonest we’d be able to break ground,” he said.

Answering a question from board member Bruce White about the cost to rent the apartments, Pelton said a two-bedroom unit would be $900 or $1,000 a month, which is significantly less than the market rate.

“The rents are not set by the developer,” Pelton said. “They are set by MaineHousing.”

White said there is significant need for such units and asked how many people are living in existing buildings that would be demolished to make way for the project. Pelton said there are seven tenants and KVCAP is working to make sure they have a place to go.

“Adding 37 units is a big deal for us,” White said, “so I hope that all goes well for you.”


Board member Tom DePre asked if the developed property would be on the tax rolls, and Pelton said it would. The primary funding source and tool for such housing is “low income tax credits,” requiring the project be a for-profit entity, according to Pelton.

Board Chairwoman Samantha Burdick asked that KVCAP be mindful of various aspects of the development, including that lighting not shine on neighboring properties, the building have features that blend with the historical nature of the neighborhood and tenants are intergenerational.

Burdick also suggested KVCAP hold a neighborhood meeting to get input from residents about features they want to see there, such as a playground or community garden.

The building would be across King Street from the KVCAP parking lot, on land that many years ago was the site of the South End Arena, a skating rink.

The project would encompass 52 and 54 King St. and 24 and 26 Gold St. Pelton said KVCAP needs to buy the four properties and has written agreements in place to do that.

Asked earlier in the week about the estimated cost for the project, Pelton said with costs of materials and labor changing all the time, his best guess was based on a 30-unit KVCAP project being built in Hartland. It is about half completed, and the project cost is about $8.5 million.

Meanwhile, the Nales are proposing to build six downtown apartments on the second story of 103-109 Main St., which is also known as the Arnold Block and includes buildings housing Loyal Biscuit Co. and the former Jorgensen’s Cafe & Deli.


“I think they have some other plans later on,” Allen said, “but right now, it’s just the six apartments that they’re doing.”

Tracy Nale said the hope is to develop units on the third floors in the future. The spaces have been vacant for more than 50 years, she said.

“Thank you for being willing to take this on,” White told her, “because I think there’s a lot of interest in the downtown area, and I think there are people interested in living above the businesses.”

No vote was taken Tuesday on the downtown or King Street proposals because the Planning Board’s actions were considered preapplication reviews.

The developers must submit letters from various people reviewing the projects and notify abutters of their plans.

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