Construction Back on Track

As we are all painfully aware, many things were put on hold in March as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak in Vermont. Unfortunately, construction on our real estate development projects was one of those. Now, we are thrilled to report that construction has resumed!

First up is Stimson and Graves, which stands in the heart of Waterbury and houses the Waterbury Area Senior Center on the ground floor, with 14 affordable senior apartments above. The building is due for some tender loving care, and the renovations that began last winter include new windows, upgrades to improve accessibility for disabled residents, and exterior painting.

But when the coronavirus crisis reared its ugly head in Vermont earlier this year, the project had to be put on hold, because the renovations were planned to take place while the residents of the building remained in their homes. Since the entire building is home to Vermont elders, who are at particularly high risk for contracting COVID-19, a new construction plan needed to be developed in order to ensure their safety.

“We had to be really creative because of the vulnerable populations living inside the building during construction,” says Nicola Anderson, Associate Director of Real Estate Development. Nicola explained that, because of the layout of the building with various hallways and stairwells, safe protocols and procedures needed to be created in order to protect the building’s tenants and the construction crew. She added, “Naylor & Breen Builders [the private design firm for this project] were fantastic in cooperating and making adjustments to their construction process to allow work to proceed while keeping our residents to safe.”

Despite the project delays, Tanner Romano, Vice President and Chief Operations Officer at Naylor & Breen, and his staff reworked the schedule and the phases of construction to ensure that the work will be complete within the required deadline for the tax credits that helped to fund the project. In order to satisfy funding requirements, the building must be fully occupied by December 31st, and because of the strong working relationship between Naylor & Breen and Downstreet, that deadline should be easy to meet.

About 25 miles south of Waterbury, another project has resumed. The second of two tiny houses is being built this summer by four Norwich University students. The construction of the home began on June 22nd, with the goal to complete the house be the end of August, for placement in Barre City in September.

The design of the 360 square foot home was created by students of Norwich University’s School of Architecture + Art, with the help of faculty. The first home was completed late last fall; early this year, it was placed on a Barre City lot donated by Thom and Karen Lauzon. Both homes are intended to house those who have mental illness and/or are at high risk of homelessness or are currently homeless. The first tiny home is already occupied, and we are working withWashington County Mental Health Services to identify a resident to move in sometime during the fall of this year.

We are so happy that our partnerships and strong working relationships have allows us to continue work on these projects during these uncertain times. As always, we will continue to provide updates on the progress of our projects each month!