Restaurateur Josh Irwin Wanted to Buy a Great Barrington Inn for Worker Housing. With Community Help, It Happened.
“One of Irwin’s visions will be realized this month when affordable housing nonprofit Construct Inc. stepped in to buy the Windflower Inn to convert it to shared temporary housing for workers. Construct sealed the deal on Thursday.
It was a long road. As Irwin and Firth searched for properties and land, Irwin spotted the 20-bedroom, 17-bath Windflower Inn on Zillow for about $1.7 million. He alone went for it, finding the price tag substantially less than building new.
He envisioned a co-living arrangement for workers either moving to town or already here and struggling to find any rental let alone one they can afford.Irwin went under contract for roughly $1.4 million, but a number of contingencies and financing roadblocks began to spike the deal in the spring.
“The people generous enough to invest in the project were being put through a number of ropes and whatnot,” Irwin said. “We met with every bank looking for the support but we didn’t have the institutional backing.”Enter Leigh Davis and Construct, her employer. Then add a sprinkle of serendipity.”