FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 11, 2023
CONTACT: Lisa Patlis, (802) 861-3814
[Bristol, VT] Today, the Bristol community celebrated the official grand opening of Firehouse Apartments with a ribbon cutting and an apartment tour. Co-owners and co-developers, Addison Housing Works and Evernorth partnered to develop Firehouse Apartments which will serve 20 low- and moderate-income households in downtown Bristol, close to amenities, recreational opportunities and community services.
The Firehouse Apartments represents a critical component of a public/private partnership bringing municipal services, business incubation, and mixed-income housing to the growing community of Bristol on the Stoney Hill property. This partnership between the Town of Bristol, private developers, and housing nonprofits Addison Housing Works and Evernorth leverages the investments in municipal infrastructure and job creation to serve 20 households in a community where there were previously only nine non-age-restricted affordable housing apartments.
Adjacent to a brand-new business park and next door to the new fire station, Firehouse Apartments is also conveniently located across the street from the regional high school and recreational fields, and just a quarter mile from the downtown hub of the community. These all electric, high-performance homes were designed and constructed to the standards of the Enterprise Green Communities certification, resulting in resilient, healthy, efficient, and environmentally responsible housing connected to transportation, critical services, and a wide range of quality-of-life amenities.
“Firehouse Apartments will create a new neighborhood in Bristol where people can send their kids to school across the street, walk to work and downtown and have easy access to nearby recreational trails,” said Elise Shanbacker, Addison Housing Works, Executive Director. “Firehouse Apartments will contribute to the continued success and vibrancy of the Bristol community into the future.”
Funding totaling more than $8.6 million from a mix of public and private sources was raised to cover the total development costs. Housing New England (HNE) Funds II & IV provided the tax credit equity investment of $4.5 million for this project, which is administered by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency. The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board contributed over $3 million, including $1.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding and $520,000 in HOME funds. NBT Bank invested in the HNE Fund and also provided the permanent loan of $345,000. Other sources of funds include the Town of Bristol through the Vermont Community Development program and Efficiency Vermont. “Affordable housing projects aren’t just about providing shelter, each is an investment in the future stability and prosperity of our communities,” said NBT Bank Regional President Dan Werme. “Bringing these complex projects to fruition involves expertise and strong relationships. We are honored to partner with Evernorth and Addison Housing Works to finance the Firehouse Apartments and excited to see local residents benefiting from this new housing opportunity.”
“Any day that we cut the ribbon on new homes is a day of celebration,” said Cynthia Lacasse, Evernorth’s Executive Vice President and Chief Program Officer. “We are especially excited to celebrate with our partners today on the creation of 20 much needed homes for people in our community that will remain a community asset in Bristol forever.”
The apartments serve a range of families and individuals from those experiencing homelessness to those earning 120% of the area’s median income, addressing the workforce housing shortage challenge in Addison County. Supportive services are available on-site to formerly homeless households through a partnership with John Graham Housing and Services.
Steve Schenker of S2 Architecture is the project architect. The buildings were originally designed by Cushman Architecture as part of the master development. Naylor and Breen is the Construction Manager.
In 2015, Stoney Hill Properties (SHP), LLC, a partnership created by Kevin Harper and David Blittersdorf, purchased a 12.5 acre parcel from the Town of Bristol with the vision of a mixed-use development that included municipal, residential and commercial buildings, all within the core Bristol Village area. “Following the completion of the new Bristol Firehouse in 2016 and the infrastructure improvements of 2021, the Firehouse Apartments opening is the next major step to seeing this project unfold,” said Kevin Harper, SHP, LLC Manager Member. “My partner, David Blittersdorf and I are thrilled with the progress of this private/public partnership, none of which could have happened without the overwhelming support of the Town, The Addison County Economic Development Corporation, and the community at large,” Harper continued.
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Addison Housing Works develops, owns, and manages over 700 units of perpetually affordable housing in Addison County, VT, including multifamily rental apartments, mobile home parks, single-family homeownership opportunities, and supportive services programs for families and seniors. AHW has been purchasing and preserving mobile home parks and single-family homes since its inception in 1989. In 2005, AHW began developing multifamily rental properties; as of 2023, AHW has developed or renovated 188 multifamily rental apartments with Evernorth and other development partners. www.addisonhousingworks.org
Evernorth is a nonprofit organization serving the low and moderate income people of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont with affordable housing and community investments. Evernorth has raised and deployed over $1B in equity capital for affordable housing and built more than 15,000 affordable homes and apartments for low and moderate income people across northern New England. Learn more at www.evernorthUS.org.