HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the redevelopment of 216 Appleton Street in Holyoke.

According to the City of Holyoke’s Director of Planning & Economic Development Aaron Vega, the historic building will be redeveloped into 88 units of market-rate housing for low- and moderate-income seniors 55 years or older. The former Farr Alpaca Mill is a five-story industrial property that was built in the late 1800s to early 1900s with over 161,000 square feet of space on the Holyoke canal.

The business was once the largest alpaca wool mill in the world that stopped production in the 1940s and has been vacant since the 1970s. It consisted of nine brick buildings on six acres of land. The City of Holyoke obtained the title to the property approximately ten years ago.

WinnDevelopment, a Boston-based housing developer and management company, is working to redevelop three of the buildings, a total of 86,000 square feet. The structures include:

  • Building 4, built in 1880 and the oldest on the site
  • Building 5, built in 1905 a storage, washing, and sorting facility
  • Building 6, also built in 1905 and the largest structure on the property
(Aaron Vega)

The $55.3 million redevelopment will include a new community building connected to the residential space by a closed sky bridge. The project is scheduled to be completed by spring of 2025.

“We’re excited to get to work on preserving this important feature of Holyoke’s proud industrial legacy and transform it into much-need housing for seniors who want to stay in the community they love,” said WinnDevelopment President and Managing Partner Larry Curtis. “This project is the first part of a two-phase redevelopment effort that will revitalize this historic mill complex and provide an economic boost to Holyoke’s downtown.”

“This project represents our commitment to history, preservation, and housing. It also represents our commitment to senior living, affordability, compassion, and care,” said Holyoke Mayor Joshua A. Garcia. “The renovation of the former 111-year-old Alpaca Mill building to achieve these commitments is another Holyoke thing we do. I am excited to witness this unfold at this time in our city’s history and even more excited to see the impact it will have for many years to come.”

“The HRA is proud of the partnership with WinnDevelopment and excited to see this project come to fruition,” said Holyoke Director of Planning and Economic Development Aaron Vega. “The whole team in our office worked on this project and we believe in its transformative impact for our downtown and in addressing the housing needs of our community.”

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