Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire acquires Sumner Block

Great Barrington —  On Monday, June 5, The Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire announced its acquisition of the Sumner Block, a historic mixed-use property located at 306-310 Main Street.

The organization is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation with its mission to provide affordable housing and economic development opportunities for low and moderate-income residents.

In a press release issued by Dana Rasso from CDCSB, the building contains six rental apartments that are considered to be “Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing” units.

“With this purchase, the CDCSB plans to ensure that all current tenants receive the protection of an annual lease and complete the renovation of an unoccupied unit,” Rasso wrote in the press release. “This landmark purchase represents a significant milestone in the CDCSB’s ongoing commitment to producing and preserving housing that is affordable to everyone in South Berkshire while fostering economic growth and opportunity.”

Rasso quotes CDCSB Executive Director Carol Bosco Baumann as saying “This acquisition represents a tremendous opportunity for us to preserve the historical fabric of Great Barrington while also preserving this naturally occurring affordable housing, or ‘workforce housing.’ It’s crucial that people who work in the area are also able to live here. We hear from a lot of businesses through our Small Business Technical Assistance (SBTA) program that a lack of workers is one of the biggest impediments to their economic growth and/or stability–and owners who have hour-long commutes that exacerbate an already long day.”

Baumann said that the organization is still looking for future projects to create or preserve housing.

“Large developments will continue to be a part of our development pipeline, but as large areas of land disappear, and we want to serve the desire to concentrate development in existing built areas, it is important to seize other opportunities to preserve existing housing,” Baumann said. “It’s not easy to do this when the market is so competitive and cash offers abound, but both staff and board are dedicated to the mission and are exploring creative and entrepreneurial ways to mitigate the housing crisis.”

According to the town’s property database, the property was previously purchased in September 1998 by Canaan Mountain LLC of Pittsfield for $450,000.

The organization did not list the purchase price for the building in its press release.