FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 4, 2023
CONTACT: Lisa Patlis, (802) 861-3814
[Colchester, Vermont] – The Champlain Housing Trust and Evernorth announced today the completion and occupancy of Stuart Avenue Apartments and the beginning of construction of 10th Cavalry Apartments which collectively will bring over 100 new permanently affordable apartments to the Town of Colchester.
The two developments were supported by the Town of Colchester, which recognizes and has prioritized the need for more housing in the community and more broadly in Chittenden County. With a county-wide rental vacancy rate of 1% or less and rents rising, the new apartments and promise for more on the way was welcomed by public officials.
“Everyone needs a place to live. Housing close to jobs in inner Chittenden County is scarce. Colchester has top notch schools, parks and recreation programs for all ages,” Colchester Selectboard Chair Pam Loranger noted. “We have a vibrant commercial area around Exit 16, just a mile south of the Stuart Avenue Apartments. We need more housing. The Town has invested thousands of hours of volunteer board and staff time to create this new growth area.”
A significant number of Vermont jobs are concentrated in Chittenden County, including 10,000 in Colchester. The Town has also directed capital infrastructure investments of over $25 million in water, wastewater, and transportation to make this development possible.
“We need both private and public sector involvement in housing for all. The Town depends on its housing partners, Champlain Housing Trust and Evernorth to plan, fund, and implement affordable housing options for our community,” added Loranger.
“During a moment in Vermont’s history in which we have a desperate need for more housing, it is exciting to see Champlain Housing Trust, Evernorth, and the Town of Colchester stepping up and producing units,” said Alex Farrell, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Housing & Community Development. “These two developments represent tremendous examples of the types of housing that we hope to see more of as we try to solve the greatest issue facing Vermont.”
About Stuart Avenue Apartments
Completed in September, Stuart Avenue Apartments are home to 36 households in the Sunderland Farms neighborhood, a new mixed-use neighborhood located in Colchester’s designated Growth Center, adjacent to Severance Corners, and was developed by SD Ireland. The location is close to jobs, schools and the Sunny Hollow recreation area. and transportation options. A four-story building, Stuart Avenue offers amenities including an underground parking garage, a community room, large community gardens, and EV charging stations. A playground is planned for the adjacent lot.
The Stuart Avenue community is mixed-income, with eligibility for households exiting homelessness all the way to 120% of the area median income. Nine apartments are supported by rental assistance from the Vermont State Housing Authority. Stuart Avenue offers 36 new permanently affordable apartments: 14 one-bedroom, 14 two-bedroom, and 8 three-bedroom apartments.
Initial rents range from $900 to $1,213 for one-bedrooms, $1,025 to $1,562 for two-bedrooms, and $1,210 to $1,944 for three-bedrooms depending on where the resident’s income falls. Rents include heat, hot water and laundry.
About 10th Cavalry Apartments
The two nonprofit developers have hired Engelberth Construction to redevelop three vacant buildings in Colchester recently purchased from St. Michael’s College. These beautiful buildings, part of the Fort Ethan Allen Historic District, were initially constructed as military barracks and more recently were dorms and offices.
They will be converted into 65 affordable one-bedroom and studio apartments and will be occupied with people of a variety of income levels. Creating more housing options is one step CHT is taking to address the challenges of homelessness and 11 of these apartments will be for people formerly unhoused. Importantly, the apartments are served by a Green Mountain Transit route with a long span of frequent bus services. The first apartments will be available by the end of 2024.
In the early 20th century, long before they were college dorms, these three buildings served as barracks to the 10th Cavalry, one of the first peacetime U.S. Army regiments made up of all Black soldiers after the Civil War. Nicknamed “Buffalo Soldiers,” the 10th Cavalry also had a troubled charge: they were deployed to western regions along with other units, where part of their mission was to continue and expand the occupation of land began by European governments and settlers resulting in the “American Indian Wars.” A brief history of the Buffalo Soldiers is documented on a plaque at the property. In recognition of this past, the buildings have been named 10th Cavalry Apartments.
Financing Affordable Housing
These two projects were awarded state and federal funding through the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, NeighborWorks® America, and energy program incentives through Vermont Gas Systems, Efficiency Vermont, and 3E Thermal.
Stuart Avenue was also funded through a grant received by the Town of Colchester from the Vermont Community Development Program and a loan from TD Bank.
10th Cavalry benefited from brownfield funds administered through the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and a loan from VHFA.
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