Bennington’s historic Putnam Block reaches milestone

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Bennington’s historic Putnam Block reaches milestone

Tue, 01/12/2021 - 4:39am -- tim
Substantial Completion As Of Mid-December; First Tenants Moving In

Vermont Business Magazine The Bennington Redevelopment Group (BRG) has announced that as of November 30th, 2020, the Putnam Block Redevelopment Project reached a major milestone of “substantial completion.” Construction on the $31 million revitalization of Phase I of the historic Putnam Block, transforming three historic buildings at the Four Corners in downtown Bennington, commenced in June 2019. In just a year and a half, and despite the setbacks caused by COVID-19, on December 1st, the first group of residential tenants moved into the beautifully restored Hotel Putnam building, with more to follow throughout the month.

Among the first to move in were John and Patti Staley, who are now able to realize their long-held dream: “Along with my incredible wife Patti, we moved into the Putnam… and we love it! We are both from Houston, Texas but lived in North Adams for the past 4 years, waiting for the Putnam to open. The magical thing is that when visiting Bennington 15 years ago, I whispered to myself, ‘Wow. What a great town. What a great building! I want to live there one day.”

Emma Feliciano also just moved into a two-bedroom home with her husband and young son, “We are so grateful to live in such a beautiful apartment! Definitely worth the wait for them to be built. Thank you to everyone involved in the process of this amazing project.”

The Putnam Block consists of thirty (30) studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, offering both market rate and affordable rents; 24 are ready for occupancy this month. Commercial spaces are being fit out now, with tenants slated to move in in early 2021. Among them will be: Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, Bennington College, VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region, as well as a new restaurant, bookstore, and café. Other commercial leases are currently under negotiation with additional commercial space available for lease in the Winslow and Hotel Putnam buildings.

Paul Carroccio, owner of TPW Real Estate, and expected tenant in the Hotel Putnam building, says, “We have had tremendous interest while marketing both the commercial and residential spaces. People just want to be part of this project. It is so great to see the first tenants moving in and look forward to seeing the Putnam Block continue to breathe new life into the downtown over the coming months!”

The Putnam Block Redevelopment Project was conceived by local leaders several years ago. In 2016, these leaders formed the BRG with the purpose of making the idea a reality. It took a complex financing package, with an unprecedented number of funding sources and investors – without each one, the project would not have succeeded.

Early development funding came from the Vermont Community Foundation, and over the past three years the BRG worked with M&S Development to structure the deal to comply with the Federal Historic Tax Credit and New Markets Tax Credit programs, among others, and to attract tax credit allocation. Ultimately, this allocation came from Evernorth Rural Ventures, Mid-City Community CDE, an Urban Atlantic Development subsidiary in Bethesda, Maryland, and Mascoma Community Development in Hanover, New Hampshire, while tax credit equity came from U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation.

Senior debt was provided by Mascoma Bank, with junior debt supplied by Vermont Economic Development Authority.

The project also received funding support from the Putnam Block Opportunity Zone Fund, Inc.; the Vermont Community Development Program; the Vermont Downtown and Village Center tax credit program; Vermont Housing & Conservation Board; People's United Bank; The Bank of Bennington; VT Agency of Natural Resources; Vermont Mutual Insurance Group; Efficiency Vermont; Vermont Energy Investment Corp.; Preservation Trust of Vermont; Citizens for a Greater Bennington; the Town of Bennington; and nearly 20 individual investors from the Bennington community.

The Putnam Block Redevelopment Project is intended to act as a catalyst for economic and community development in southern Vermont and to serve as a replicable model for rural downtowns throughout the state.

Source: BENNINGTON, VT, December 17, 2020 — The Bennington Redevelopment Group