Senior housing Juniper House opens in Burlington with 70 apartments, 423 on wait list

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Senior housing Juniper House opens in Burlington with 70 apartments, 423 on wait list

Tue, 06/29/2021 - 10:34am -- tim

Rendering courtesy Cathedral Square

Vermont Business Magazine Juniper House, Burlington’s newest affordable, service-enriched housing community for adults 55 and older, is now fully open on Cambrian Way off North Avenue in Burlington. To guard against COVID, move-ins have been staggered and carefully choreographed since mid-March. Today all but four of the 70 households have moved in; among them are nine residents who previously did not have a home.

“We are so excited to welcome our new residents to this beautiful community,” said Kim Fitzgerald, Cathedral Square CEO. “In normal times, we would celebrate with our funders, contractors and others who made Juniper House possible at a grand opening,” she added. “Instead, in order to ensure the continued safety of our residents and staff, we are offering this video tour and inviting media representatives to contact us to schedule an in-person tour and an opportunity to interview residents.”



  • Highly insulated walls – good not just for thermal performance but also for mitigating exterior sound
  • Triple glazed windows (same effect as above)
  • Gyp-Crete® flooring (provides best possible sound mitigation between apartments vertically)
  • Double stud-framed party walls (walls between apartments) filled with acoustic insulation for horizontal sound mitigation
  • Individually (resident) controlled air-conditioning and heating
  • Balanced ventilation system with energy recovery (provides fresh air to all apartments while minimizing energy loss)
  • 97kW rooftop solar array
  • Exceeds Efficiency Vermont’s High Performance Certification
  • LED lighting throughout
  • Only low-VOC paints used


  • Maple cabinets
  • Roll-out drawers in base cabinets
  • Energy Star appliances


  • Maple vanity and linen cabinets
  • Comfort height (ADA) toilets
  • Recessed (in wall) medicine cabinet
  • Step-in showers (no tubs)


  • Five fully ADA-accessible apartments
  • Two of the five also audio/visually accessible
  • All are easily adaptable to ADA standards

Construction began on Juniper House in September 2019 and was paused twice due to the pandemic. COVID restrictions precluded property tours, so residents chose their apartments based on floor plans and an informational video from Cathedral Square. They have not been disappointed. As resident Suzanne Feeney Merchant posted shortly after moving in, “My husband and I are amazed at the excellence in design and soundness of the construction. We accepted this apartment sight unseen and felt at home immediately. The staff are over the top.”

Juniper House is a mixed-income, independent-living community with one-bedroom apartments at subsidized, tax-credit and market-rate rents, as well as two-bedroom apartments at market-rate rents. There are several lounges, a community room with kitchen, an activity room for group exercise and other programming, elevators, underground parking, storage units, and outdoor garden beds. Artworks by local artists are featured in common areas. Rent includes free use of laundry facilities and all utilities except telephone and cable TV. Juniper House is a SASH® (Support and Services at Home) location, with a full-time SASH coordinator and part-time wellness nurse.

The four-floor, 70,000-square-foot building exceeds Efficiency Vermont’s “High Performance Multifamily Building Standard.” Features include rooftop solar panels that generate 97kW of electricity, triple-glazed windows, highly insulated walls and interior spaces (for both thermal performance and sound mitigation), and a balanced ventilation system with energy recovery, which provides fresh air to each apartment and minimizes energy loss. All apartments are air conditioned.

Juniper House was developed in response to the growing need for affordable housing for older Vermonters and the critical shortage of affordable housing in general, particularly in Chittenden County where vacancy rates are below 1%. The fact that 423 people remain on the wait list for one of Juniper House’s 70 apartments underscores this troubling statistic.

Juniper House was among the beneficiaries of the state’s $37 million housing revenue bond approved by the Vermont Legislature in 2017. Funders included the Burlington Housing Trust Fund, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, HOME Investment Partnership, Mascoma Bank, National Housing Trust Fund, People’s United Bank, Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, Vermont Housing Finance Agency, Burlington Electric Department, and Vermont Gas Systems. The building was designed by Duncan-Wisniewski Architects and constructed by Wright & Morrissey. The City of Burlington and Eric Farrell were critical to the success of Juniper House, which benefited from the City’s Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance.

As at other Cathedral Square communities, in-person events and activities are quickly ramping up at Juniper House now that COVID restrictions have been relaxed. “It’s wonderful to see everyone out and about. People seem so happy to be here and be able to meet their new neighbors – and smiling!“ said Ken Bridges, SASH coordinator and property manager.

Among those happy people is a resident named John, age 57. “I was in motels for six years – I was homeless,” he said. “Here at Juniper House, I finally found a community and a place I can call home.”

Juniper House is part of the Cambrian Rise development, located on the shores of Lake Champlain and at the edge of downtown. The location was previously home to Burlington College, which closed in 2016, and before that to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington orphanage and administrative offices.

ABOUT CATHEDRAL SQUARE: Founded in Vermont in 1977, Cathedral Square is a national leader in the development of affordable, service-enriched housing communities for low- and modest-income older adults and people with special needs. Guided by its commitment to advance “healthy homes, caring communities and positive aging,” the nonprofit has helped create more than 1,200 affordable homes in Vermont. In 2009 it developed the nationally recognized SASH program, a care-management model based in affordable housing and shown to improve health outcomes, save Medicare expenditures and help people remain living safely at home as they age.

Source: BURLINGTON, VT — Cathedral Square 6.28.2021