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Updated: May 15, 2024

With housing a priority, a Bangor nonprofit moves forward on plans for 40-unit senior complex

Plans are moving ahead to build an affordable senior housing complex in Bangor, on Milford Street, north of the downtown area.

The 40-unit complex will be built by the nonprofit agency Penquis, which is based in Bangor. Construction is scheduled to begin in June. The architect is TAC Architectural Group Inc. and the general contractor is Dunbar & Brawn Construction, both of which are in Bangor.

Final cost estimates for the project are still being worked out. Penquis will submit a request to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the release $200,000 of Community Development Block Grant funding, Jason Bird, Penquis’s housing development director, told Mainebiz. The state also is funding a portion of the work. 

Penquis, based in Bangor, is one of 10 community action agencies established by the federal government in Maine. Through its programs and subsidiaries, Penquis works to benefit all of Maine’s 16 counties, but primarily serves low- and moderate-income individuals in Penobscot, Piscataquis and Knox counties.

The project, called Milford Place, now has planning board approval but doesn’t have an address yet. The complex will consist of three-story building, on nearly two acres, of one-bedroom units ranging from roughly 675 to 700 square feet each. 

Occupancy in all of the units will be restricted to households age 55 or over.

Of the 40 units, 17 will be handicapped-accessible. Eight will be restricted to households whose incomes are at or below 30% of area median income, 17 will be restricted to households whose incomes are at or below 50% of AMI, and 15 will be restricted to households whose incomes are at or below 60% of AMI.

Tenant amenities will include a community room and other sitting areas, onsite parking, a resident services coordinator, laundry facilities on each floor, an elevator and internet service capable of supporting telehealth services, and a community garden. 

Penquis is working with Bangor Savings Bank for financing, which will also include funding through low-income housing tax credits, MaineHousing, and federal, city and county funds. Construction could take up to two years, said Bird.

Bigger vision

Milford Place is the first phase of construction on the parcel. The second phase is expected to be a family housing project of around 40 units, which could start construction next year. 

The project “hit a number of delays with rising construction costs, increased interest rate and various other challenges,” said Bird. “It will be nice to get it under construction.”

The site is a four-acre parcel near schools, hospitals and shopping as well as the city's community garden. Broadway Park, Dakin Swimming Pool, and Bangor Community Garden are within a five-minute walk.

“It’s hard to find several undeveloped acres that are reasonably priced that meet low-income tax credit scoring criteria,” said Bird. In general, lots of three to six acres in Bangor are considered too expensive for consideration or are already fully developed.  

The Bangor City Council early this year approved a resolution that said housing is a critical component of the community's well-being and economic vitality. According to the resolution:

  • A strong housing market can support and attract new businesses and residents, which can lead to increased economic activity and job creation.
  • Safe and affordable housing can improve health outcomes by reducing exposure to environmental hazards and stressors. 
  • Prioritizing housing can help reduce homelessness and provide support to those in need.
  • Access to quality housing can promote social equity by reducing disparities in housing quality and affordability. 
  • Quality housing can improve the overall quality of life for residents by providing a stable and comfortable living environment. 

According to city documents, two other properties were considered for the project, both on Kittredge Road near the Bangor Mall. But the owners were unwilling to sell the lots.

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