|Trinity Financial?s Hamilton Canal District team picked up a National Park Service Historic Preservation award Thursday evening in Lowell for the first building completed in what's planned as an $800M, 15-acre mixed-use project. As Smokey the Bear says: "Only you can prevent the winners from posing in an antique trolley."
|Luckily, you didn't prevent them, and we had our camera. This month, the first tenants move into the restored building, Appleton Mills, a $64M project with 130 affordable artist rental apartments. Trinity?s Abby Goldenfarb, front left, is the project manager. CEO Jim Keefe is holding the award. The head over his right shoulder is design and construction VP Hank Keating; next to Jim at the trolley's edge (the Leonardo DiCaprio position, if it were a boat) is construction manager Larry Sparrow. Once built out, Hamilton Canal District will have two renovated buildings and 15 new ones with 725 units of rental and for-sale housing, 425k SF of office and 55k SF of retail. Financing for Appleton Mills came through city and state funding and low-income housing and historic tax credit investor Metlife.
|The building is being marketed to artists and other creative pros such as Colleen Sgroi, 53, who's moving in at the end of the month. We snapped her in the expansive lobby. Colleen, a relo from Billerica about seven miles away, figures that she'll save about $7,000 a year because the rent for her new two-bedroom cuts her annual housing expense almost in half. ?It's a miracle,? she says.
|Here in her new kitchen, Colleen (who owns an eponymous gallery and art center in Billerica) tells us that she learned about Appleton Mills through an online artist group. After going through the rigorous application process, she says she went to the Appleton Mills website every day and imagined herself and her 16-year-old son David in one of the units, arranging and re-arranging the furniture. Once she learned that she was qualified to become a new resident and saw her new unit overlooking a canal, she was overjoyed because ?My whole life, I?ve wanted to live on the water.?
|We snapped Y Sok, 33, a painter who's already moved in to her two-bedroom with her daughter Mali, 10. She's excited to be living downtown, the most costly part of Lowell, for an affordable price. Her new apartment is twice the size of the one she left two miles out of the center. She tells us that in addition to the lifestyle upgrade, her new building will make her part of a new network of artists and other creative people who can be supportive of her work. She says she'll be able to talk to other tenants about her paintings, learn from them, meet more people through them and get public exposure. Appleton Mills will have its own art gallery and conduct monthly open studio events.