Eastview work to get underway

MIDDLEBURY — Developers of Eastview at Middlebury anticipate a June groundbreaking for the 98-unit retirement community off South Street, which should lead to a completed project during the fall of 2011.
That was the word on Thursday from Eastview Principal Rob Alberts, who said organizers need to only sell a handful of additional units in order to trigger construction of the project that will be located next to the Porter Medical Center campus.
“We have sold over 40 percent of out independent living units,” of which there are 62, Alberts said. “There has been some strong interest.”
It was back in 2005 that the Middlebury Planning Commission gave its OK to Eastview, a development that will include 30 cottages; 32 independent living apartments; and a combined total of 36 additional apartments for seniors who need assistance or who suffer from memory loss ailments.
The project has been on hold for the past several years due to a lengthy appeal of Eastview’s Act 250 permit. Eastview prevailed in that appeal, which was ultimately adjudicated by the Vermont Supreme Court.
A silver lining to that appeal process, Alberts said, has been that construction prices have become more competitive than they were five years ago. And with signs that the economy is pulling out of the long recession, Alberts believes that Eastview will be well positioned to fill up in short order.
“Obviously, this is a good time to be building,” Alberts said.
The Eastview Board of Directors has picked Williston-based DEW Construction Corp. to serve as project manager. That company will subcontract with other workers on the major project, which will also result in some utilities work and traffic calming upgrades on South Street, according to Alberts. The work will add to an already frenzied construction season in Middlebury, the site of a new bridge that will span the Otter Creek at Cross Street.
“This is a project that will create over 100 construction jobs, with another 45 good-paying jobs (at Eastview),” Alberts said.
Those initially interested in reserving a home at Eastview put down refundable deposits of $1,000. People are not being asked to come up with non-refundable deposits of $5,000, Alberts noted.
People who reserve units right now have good selection, better pricing and ample time to “customize” their dwelling, according to Alberts.
While they have the necessary permits, Eastview officials said they will soon go to the town planning office to finalize their plans. He said there is a lot of excitement surrounding the project now that construction is close to becoming a reality.
“We are pleased that the future residents stuck with us through what has been an arduous permitting process,” Alberts said. “Their loyalty to the project has been what has kept it going.”
The Lodge at Otter Creek is another major retirement community that was established a couple of years ago just south of downtown Middlebury.
The pleasant community, ample shopping and excellent town services, along with a vibrant arts community (including college lectures and entertainment, as well as sports events and recreation) make Middlebury a compelling place for seniors to live, Alberts said.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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