Three local nonprofit housing developers, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, and local dignitaries marked the beginning of construction of affordable housing in the village with a groundbreaking ceremony last Thursday afternoon in Shelburne.
“I was reminded by representative Joan Lenes that it took eight years of planning and persistence for this new neighborhood to become a reality,” said Gov. Shumlin. “Harrington Village brings together rentals and single family homes for all ages and a variety of income levels in the village center.” In his closing remarks, the Governor thanked businessman Tony Pomerleau for his purchase of the Shelburnewood Mobile Home Park and support of its residents. “I am so proud to be a part of this project. Our best days are ahead of us.”
The three nonprofits – Champlain Housing Trust, Housing Vermont, and Cathedral Square – are collaborating to build a mixed-income, mixed-generation neighborhood of 82 new homes including 42 family apartments, 36 senior apartments, and four affordable houses for sale. Construction is underway and occupancy of the family and senior rentals is expected in the summer of 2014; infrastructure will be prepared for four homes to be available at a later date.
“It takes a town to make a village,” said Brenda Torpy, CEO of the Champlain Housing Trust. “We are here today because committed citizens and local officials in Shelburne wanted to make sure that their community is inclusive for people of all incomes. We received support from the Town of Shelburne, the Selectboard, and the Design Review Board throughout the long process and I applaud their commitment,” she informed. “We look forward to coming back here next summer to welcome the first people moving in.”
“We also appreciate the Town of Shelburne’s support for the new neighborhood we are creating,” added Kim Fitzgerald, Chief of Operations and Finance at Cathedral Square Corporation. “This development has so many benefits – mixed income housing for seniors and families in a village location, construction jobs, and conservation of open space for the Town of Shelburne. And that’s not all. The Wright House, named after former Cathedral Square Development Director Amy Wright for her lifetime contribution to affordable housing, is the most “green” yet. The buildings will be energy efficient with solar panels on the roof, raised gardens, a community kitchen, and a walking trail. Cathedral Square anticipates the Wright House senior housing to be leased up before the doors open next summer.”
Thirty-three of the 36 one-bedroom apartments at Wright House will receive rental assistance through USDA Rural Development. The remaining three units will cost approximately $880 per month including utilities.
Funding for the housing came from numerous sources, including investments made by TD Bank and Enterprise Community Investment through a federal tax credit equity program. Grants from HUD-funded programs and USDA Rural Development were instrumental to the development, including support from NeighborWorks America, HOME, and Community Development Block Grants. Support and financing also came from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Vermont Housing Finance Agency, Vermont Community Development Program, Efficiency Vermont, Vermont Gas, the Town of Shelburne and proceeds from state tax credit. SCHIP’s Treasure Shop also made an early grant in support of the predevelopment costs of the project.
The general contractor for the senior and family housing is Wright & Morrissey Inc. The architect for the project is Duncan Wisniewski Architecture. The combined cost of the two developments is approximately $20 million.
“The vacancy rate for rental housing in suburban Chittenden County is currently less than one percent,” said Housing Vermont President Nancy Owens. “Clearly, there are many families and seniors who are looking for quality apartments at affordable rents in good locations,” Owens said. “Harrington Village directly responds to those needs and we expect that demand will be strong.”