Middlebury location eyed for 16 townhouses

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury Development Review Board on March 10 began its review of a proposal to build 16 townhouses on a 1.19-acre site at the Middlebury South Village (MSV) development off Court Street.
The plan, dubbed the “Village Walk,” is being pitched by Burlington-based Retrovest Companies. The townhouses are to feature either two or three bedrooms, and 12 of the units would be two stories tall, aligned in four strips of four townhouses each, according to documents on file at the Middlebury planning office.
Four of the homes will consist of three stories and will be located at the four corners of the development “to help define and anchor the neighborhood,” according to Retrovest President David Scheuer.
Each of the townhouses would have a one-car garage, with additional on-street parking available on adjacent South Village Green Drive and Village Lane. Retrovest’s townhouses are projected to cost from the upper $200,000s to the lower $300,000s.
Scheuer said Middlebury is ready for more condominiums.
“We have identified Middlebury as a market that’s under-served,” Scheuer said. “When you see the inventory that’s available, it’s pretty old, tired and inexpensive. That suggests to me a hole in the market supply.”
Scheuer said his research of the Middlebury townhouse market points to eight available units that are on average 28 years old, costing between $165,000 to $225,000. Only three of those eight units are in excess of 1,000 square feet, according to Scheuer.
Retrovest believes its townhouses are likely to draw particular interest from older buyers or empty nesters looking to downsize from larger homes and who would appreciate a ground-floor master bedroom, according to Scheuer. Twelve of the townhouses would feature ground-floor master bedrooms.
Scheuer said MSV offers a good spot in which to locate a compact, walkable neighborhood with convenient access to area retail and professional services. The MSV development already includes the 8,000-square-foot People’s United Bank, a 17,000-square-foot state office building, and two residential neighborhoods. The Centre shopping plaza and area schools are within walking distance from MSV.
Middlebury DRB Administrator Ted Dunakin said the DRB began its review of the Retrovest plan at its March 10 meeting and has recessed consideration of the application to a future date, to be determined. Dunakin noted the approval will depend, among other things, on a “change of use” designation — from retail to residential — for a portion of the MSV planned unit development.
The DRB will consider another proposal at its March 24 meeting, for a new, 4,300-square-foot office building on a 1.74-acre lot just south of Agway on Exchange Street. The building would become the new headquarters of Yankee Farm Credit, now located at 1436 Exchange St.
Kenneth Button is senior vice president at Yankee Farm Credit and manager of the company’s Middlebury branch. He told the DRB the company has outgrown the 2,000 square feet of office space it owns at 1436 Exchange St. Plans for the new building show, among other things, 11 offices, two conference rooms and storage space.
The Middlebury Yankee Farm Credit branch currently has seven employees and serves other offsite workers. The company provides financing for agricultural ventures and offers other services, such as tax preparation, tax planning, financial record keeping, appraisals, equipment leases and credit life insurance.
Yankee was established in 1916 and has had a presence in Middlebury since soon after it was founded. It has operated at 1436 Exchange St. since the late-1980s.
Button stressed that Yankee has yet to acquire the land for the building project; that purchase is subject to the plan passing permitting hurdles.
“I don’t anticipate any issues,” Dunakin said of the upcoming DRB review of the project.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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