Federal financing is sought for Eastview

MIDDLEBURY — Developers of the proposed Eastview at Middlebury retirement community are seeking $1 million in federal funds to leverage more financing for the 98-unit project slated for land next to the Porter Medical center campus off South Street.
“It’s part of what lenders are requiring in a difficult credit market,” Eastview principal Robert Alberts said of the $1 million that he and his colleagues are seeking in the form of a federal Community Development Block Grant.
Plans call for the grant, if approved, to be issued by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development to the town of Middlebury, which would then sub-grant the money to the project, according to Middlebury Town Manager Bill Finger. But the money would be held in escrow by the project’s primary lender to give the developers leverage in accumulating more financing for Eastview.
As the project proceeds and achieves construction/financing benchmarks, the escrowed money would be released back to the state of Vermont, according to Finger.
If the project does not meet benchmarks, the money could then be converted into a loan to the project that the developers would have to pay back, with interest.
The town would merely act as a pass-through for the money and would not be liable in the event of a default, according to Finger.
Roberts said Eastview is eligible for the grant because of the 45 full-time jobs the project would generate. He said 33 of those jobs would be offered to low- to moderate-income applicants.
The Addison County Economic Development Corp. is backing Eastview’s grant application.
“As a start-up nonprofit, we don’t have an endowment built up or significant assets, so banks are asking for this reserve fund as we move into construction, should sales fall off,” Alberts said. “Sales have been pretty strong… ”
Alberts said the grant application is due to state and federal officials on July 29 for a decision anticipated by Sept. 2.
Eastview officials hope to break ground on the project later this summer, which would lead to completion of the project during the fall of 2011.
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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