November 1 saw the groundbreaking ceremony for Allard Square, the first large scale construction project in the heart of City Center on Market Street. L-R Art Casavant, vice president for community development, People’s United Bank; Jeff Kantor, community development consultant; Katie Buckley, commissioner, Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development; Cindy Morgan, senior marketing executive, New England Federal Credit Union; Kim Fitzgerald, CEO, Cathedral Square; Doris Allard, longtime Cathedral Square resident and the building’s namesake; Chris Snyder, partner, Snyder Braverman Development Co.; Gus Seelig, executive director, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board; Dave Adams, chief of program operations, Vermont Housing Finance Agency; Cindy Reid, director of development, Cathedral Square; and Ken Braverman, partner, Snyder Braverman Development Co.

Cathedral Square Kicks Off City Center Project

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Thursday November 09, 2017

Government officials, affordable-housing developers, and representatives of public and private financing partners marked November 2 as the official start of construction for Cathedral Square’s newest apartment building for seniors. Representing the first large scale construction project in the heart of City Center, the Market Street building is named Allard Square in honor of Cathedral Square’s longest tenured resident, Doris Allard. Construction is scheduled to take one year, concluding in October 2018, with occupancy slated for November 2018.

South Burlington City Manager Kevin Dorn said, “I am very pleased to see the commitment of Cathedral Square and developer Snyder Braverman to building in City Center, our emerging downtown. There are other already built projects that we consider to be part of the City Center Development, but Allard Square represents the largest construction and housing project on Market Street to date and signals an accelerated build-out of our downtown. It is clear that investors, developers and businesses are looking to South Burlington as a very attractive community in which to invest.”

Allard Square will provide 39 one and two-bedroom apartments for older Vermonters at both affordable and market-rate rents. According to Cathedral Square, the residence will meet Efficiency Vermont standards for a high performance multifamily building and will include numerous amenities for residents, including covered parking, air conditioning, secure storage units and garden beds. Cathedral Square reports that residents of Allard Square will receive their care coordination program called SASH (Support and Services at Home).

The development is a public/private partnership by the nonprofit Cathedral Square Corporation of South Burlington and Shelburne’s Snyder Braverman Development Company, who will build for Cathedral Square in a turnkey arrangement.

South Burlington City Council Chair Helen Riehle was on hand at the groundbreaking. She spoke at the ceremony noting that the city council approved a $100,000 contribution from the city’s housing trust fund for Allard Square and added that the city was happy to receive the $525,000 block grant, which was a key component of the funding. “Allard Square will anchor the build-out of City Center, a highly dense, mixed use development served by public infrastructure and services which will become a very vibrant and attractive downtown and commercial center for the City of South Burlington and for the region,” said Riehle.

Council Chair Riehle, noting that the city has an option on the property next door to Allard Square, said that, with voter approval, the hope is to begin construction of a new public library and city hall as well as a senior center adjacent to Allard Square. She added, “We appreciate the support of our legislature in approving this area as a Tax Increment Financing District.”

Citing the skyrocketing need for affordable housing for older Vermonters and noting that Vermont is the second-oldest state and soon will be the first in terms of population age, Cathedral Square CEO Kim Fitzgerald said that her organization alone has more than 800 people on waiting lists for housing.

“Allard Square will be a truly mixed income community,” said Fitzgerald. “25 of the 39 homes will have project-based rental assistance for extremely low-income residents, who will pay 30 percent of their income in rent. Another four will have below-market rents for those earning less than 60 percent of area median income, and 10 will have market-rate rents.”

Funding for Allard Square, totaling more than $10 million, was raised from numerous sources including over $6 million from People’s United Bank – tax credit equity, and funding from the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, Vermont Community Development Program, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, HOME Investment Partnership, South Burlington Housing Trust Fund, TD Charitable Foundation, and the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation.