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W.D. Cowls, Beacon Communities to Partner on Third Phase of Mill District

NORTH AMHERST — W.D. Cowls Inc. announced the start of Phase Three of its Mill District development, with a preliminarily agreement with Beacon Communities, the award-winning, locally established, multi-family-housing development, management, and investment company based in Boston.

Mollye Lockwood, W.D. Cowls’ Vice President for Real Estate and Community Development, initiated a relationship with Beacon Communities for what she expects will be the next phase of The Mill District.

Beacon is envisioning a development that will feature mixed-income, rental housing and first floor commercial/retail space for lease, all to be located on the south side of Cowls Road, across the street from the Trolley Barn; between Atkins – Your Local Market and Cowls Building Supply. The project is still in its initial stages of site due diligence, community engagement, and concept brainstorming.

With the redevelopment of The Mill District, Cowls seeks to “bring back community” in our less personally connected Internet age. “So many people today don’t belong to sporting clubs, fraternal organizations, or churches like they used to. Shopping malls and huge grocery emporiums on highways have taken away community interactions that were once naturally organic,” said Lockwood. “The Mill District seeks to bring back community by creating a sense of place through a mixed-use destination, where people live; dine; recreate; buy things better bought at a store rather than on the Internet; and enjoy services such as salons and health clubs.”

For several years Cowls has been looking for the opportunity to create a mixed-income rental community in The Mill District and has heard from its neighbors and the Amherst community that this much-needed housing would be welcomed. “I’ve worked with the impressive principals of Beacon Communities in the past,” said Lockwood, “and the Town of Amherst has admired this Massachusetts company for stepping forward to protect the town’s affordable housing inventory by purchasing and soundly managing Rolling Green Apartments.”
“We have heard and responded to the wishes of our neighbors,” said Lockwood, “Our goal is to create a high- quality community that serves a diverse income range and offers housing options that will appeal to young professionals, young families, and those who are down-sizing their homes.”

While Beacon will own and professionally manage all apartments, as its does with all of its properties, the first floor commercial/retail space will be controlled by Cowls in order to provide and ensure diverse community gathering space with a balanced mix of restaurants, shops, and services.

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