BY ANGELO LYNN
BRANDON — The former Brandon High School, built in 1916 and now vacant for the past 35 years, will be converted into 12-14 residential loft apartments, according to a recent announcement by Gov. Scott’s administration when it announced the awarding of state tax credits that will support 28 rehabilitation and revitalization projects in 22 of Vermont’s designated downtown and village centers.
These awards will help generate over $83 million in building improvements and public infrastructure to support local businesses, create new housing opportunities and incentivize investments that will improve the resiliency and vitality of Vermont’s community centers.
“Like so many aspects of our lives, neighborhoods and economy, Vermont’s downtowns and villages have been significantly impacted by the pandemic,” Scott said in a press release. “That is why it is inspiring to see so many Vermont companies, nonprofits and individuals committed to making significant investments for the future of their communities.
“This collaborative approach is part of the reason our Downtown Program is so successful,” Scott added. “The kind of projects we’re funding today, along with the strategic use of federal relief dollars, gives us the opportunity to make transformative change that will have long-lasting impacts around the state.”
In Brandon, a $2,165,000 project to restore the old high school at 9 West Seminary St. will receive state tax credits worth $188,750. The 12-14 residential loft apartments will be based on a co-housing model. State tax credits will support a historically sensitive rehabilitation of the 1916 building, including installation of a new elevator and exterior masonry repairs and window restoration. A former basement gymnasium will be converted into performance/community space and winter parking.
Frank Briscoe is leading the project in Brandon and said the project should get underway by 2023.
“While some details are still being worked out,” he wrote in an email to The Reporter, “I can tell you that the public facades will be conserved and returned to their original appearance; that it will be a mixed-use project, with upper floors built out as residential spaces; that the basement will be used as a cultural and community space; and that we are committed to developing the residences along a co-housing model.
“Some things may change as we meet regulatory responsibilities,” he continued, “but we have momentum and the financing to get the project underway and expect to be moving in 2023.”
In Rutland, the Paramount Theatre, a cornerstone of community and civic engagement, received tax credits for two projects. The first will support a capital project to provide expanded and fully ADA compliant restrooms, new and expanded concessions, and fully integrated public space for both the theater’s main lobby and balcony levels. Work will also include energy efficient, state of the art HVAC heating, cooling, and filtration systems, along with exterior masonry and window repairs. The total project cost is $1,355,500, with $125,000 in tax credits.
The second project will renovate the currently vacant third and fourth floors of the Richardson Building to provide a new performance and public space venue, as well as meeting and hospitality suites, and a commercial kitchen for on-site food and beverage services. The total project cost is $3,445,000 with tax credits of $200,000 awarded.