Senior housing pitched for Middlebury South Village

MIDDLEBURY — One of the nonprofit developers of Middlebury Commons is planning another affordable housing project for seniors — this one in Middlebury South Village (MSV) off Court Street.
Housing Foundation Inc. (HFI) is seeking local support in its application for a $454,700 federal grant to help pay for a “22-unit building offering affordable housing for seniors and/or the disabled,” according to the project narrative. Krister Adams of HFI said his organization has a conditional agreement with the owners of MSV to buy a 0.41-acre piece of land on which the new, three-story building would be erected.
“We are very optimistic,” Adams said of the prospect of funding and permitting coming together for what would be around a $4 million project. “The market is very strong (for affordable housing for seniors). We have no doubt this is the right kind of project in the right location, and it will fill up.”
Indeed, HFI and the Vermont State Housing Authority have had no problem filling the Middlebury Commons’ 63 senior apartments on Buttolph Drive Extension. There is currently a waiting list of more than 50 elderly people seeking to snap up one of the affordable rental units, according to Adams.
Middlebury has seen one retirement community open off Middle Road and another in the works off South Street. But those communities are out of the financial reach of low-income elders who reside at Middlebury Commons or who would be eligible for the proposed project at MSV, according to Adams.
Potential tenants would be granted subsidies that would allow all of the units to be affordable to households earning less than 50 percent of the median income for Addison County. That translates to an annual household income (for a single person) of up to $23,300 per year, according to federal statistics.
The new project would include, among other things:
• An elevator to a fully accessible building in which the average apartment size would be 665 square feet.
• A community room and outdoor green space.
• The capacity of the building to create 88 percent of its energy needs on site. Plans call for solar heat and hot water, a wood pellet boiler, energy efficient lighting and above-standard insulation. HFI is working with Efficiency Vermont to ensure maximum energy savings, according to Adams.
He identified MSV as being “ideally located” near stores, public transportation, medical services, recreation trails and other amenities that the elderly tenants — who would be a minimum of 62 years old — could access.
Developers are assembling a funding package that would include federal Community Development Block Grant money, United States Department of Agriculture funds, tax credits and other resources. Middlebury selectmen are tentatively scheduled to discuss their potential support of the CDBG application on Aug. 10.
Jeff Glassberg, managing owner of MSV, said he hopes the HFI project receives a green light. He cautioned it might take a year or more for the project to come to fruition, even if financing and permitting fall into place.
“What (the project) does is meet an identified need in the community,” Glassberg said.
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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