Waterville city officials announced Friday the awarding of a $500,000 federal Housing Assistance grant for repairs to 165 Main St. Kennebec Realty Partners LLC has announced plans to redevelop the historic building into 18 workforce units. The funds will be allocated to replace a back wall and roof. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

WATERVILLE — City officials have secured a $500,000 federal grant to support the construction of 18 workforce housing units at 165 Main St.

The money comes in the form of a Housing Assistance grant through a Community Development Block Grant program request from the Office of Community Development.

“We are thrilled to receive this Housing Assistance grant, which will enable us to further our commitment to providing affordable housing solutions in our community,” Michael Hall, community development specialist for the city of Waterville, said. “This project represents a significant step toward addressing the housing needs of our workforce and contributing to the economic vitality of our downtown.”

A year ago, Justin De Pre of Kennebec Realty Partners LLC, which owns 155 and 165 Main St., gave a presentation to the Waterville Planning Board on plans to redevelop the two buildings into apartments. The buildings, known as the Eaton & Edith Blocks, formerly housed Atkins Printing Service, and 155 Main St. was home to Berry’s Stationers for several years before that business moved to Oakland.

The buildings are across the street from the Colby College-owned Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons at 150 Main St., which houses Colby students and staff members on upper floors and Camden National Bank on the first floor.

Kennebec Realty Partners was recently chosen for the Rural Affordable Rental Housing Program by the Maine State Housing Authority. The funds awarded under the Housing Assistance grant will be used to replace a back wall and roof as part of ongoing construction.

Construction is expected to start this fall, with completion expected by December 2025.

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