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Downtowns receive tax credits

MIDDLEBURY Gov. Jim Douglas has announced the allocation of $1.6 million in tax credits for Vermont communities to assist in revitalization of buildings in downtowns and village centers. These tax credits help attract private investment to our designated downtowns and village centers places where everyone agrees development should be directed, Douglas said. This is an investment in new affordable housing, new businesses and jobs, and community revitalization. Brandon will receive $200,300 in credits for installing an elevator and sprinkler system in the Smiths Block, the last large commercial building in downtown Brandon yet to undergo rehabilitation. This project will bring the building up to code and place the upper floors back into productive use as housing and office space, Douglas said. Fair Haven will get a boost from $85,000 in tax credits to assist in renovating the presently vacant second and third floors of an historic three story building at 49 Main Street, including both sprinkler and security systems. This will create six one-bedroom apartments, and one studio apartment, helping to meet the need for rental apartments for young professionals, students of Green Mountain and Castleton State Colleges, and visiting consultants and professors, Douglas said. The Ryan Block, one of the largest structures in downtown Vergennes, will receive $105,800 in credits to install an elevator and sprinkler system necessary to make the upper floors comply with housing codes. Originally constructed in 1848 as a hotel, this building was converted in the late 1800s to mixed commercial and residential space and retains that important role today, Douglas said. As part of the Vergennes Historic District, its a critical element of Main Street and downtown. The state tax credit program is designed to work with the federal tax credit program to leverage a combined state-federal credit valued between 30 and 40 percent of eligible expenses. These projects help preserve Vermont's historic buildings, enhance the tourism industry, and make good use of existing buildings and infrastructure while fighting sprawl. To date, 22 downtowns and 78 village centers are designated and all older and historic buildings in these designated areas are eligible for these investment incentives.

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