RUTLAND — The new owner and developer of a large, vacant office building just outside of Rutland’s downtown came before a city board this week seeking a permit as he works to sign up more tenants.
The Rutland Herald newspaper has already agreed to lease space in the building at 77 Grove St.
Mark Foley Jr., president of MKF Properties, told the city’s Development Review Board at a meeting Wednesday night that he envisioned as many as 80 to 120 employees working in the 40,000-square-foot facility.
‘We think that’s a high estimate,” Foley added. ‘We don’t think it will be that high, but we just don’t know.”
Foley was seeking a conditional use permit for the three-floor office building. The board, after a brief presentation by Foley and a short question-and-answer period, took the matter under advisement.
Tara Kelly, the city’s planning director and zoning administrator, said Thursday afternoon that the DRB did approve a conditional use permit for Foley. She added that a written decision still needed to be drafted.
Foley had to go before the DRB because the building predated zoning in the city and had been vacant for more than a year. Multi-tenant, commercial office use is a conditional use in the mixed-residential district where the building is located.
MKF Properties purchased the property earlier this year from a New York investment company for $425,000.
The building is known locally as the “CVPS building.” That’s because for many years Central Vermont Public Service Corp., leased the entire building before the utility was later bought out by Green Mountain Power a few years ago.
GMP continued to lease space in that building until about a year ago, and the building has been vacant ever since.
Last month, the Rutland Herald announced it would be moving out of its downtown Wales Street location, which had been its home since the mid-1930s, and move into about 5,000 square feet of leased space in Foley’s building in November.
Foley told the Development Review Board on Wednesday that he envisioned up to six different tenants in the building.
“No retail?” DRB Chair Stephanie Lorentz asked Foley.
“I don’t believe that retail is an option,” he replied.
“No residential?” Lorentz followed up.
“No residential,” Foley responded.
Many of the other questions asked at the meeting Wednesday night centered around landscaping and parking. Foley said that the lots at the site provided about 130 parking spaces. He added that he believed that would be more than enough.
He also told the board that some landscaping work has already taken place at the site and more is expected.
Foley and his company, MKF Properties, owns several prominent buildings in Rutland City, with most of them downtown. Those properties include the Service Building, the Gryphon Building, the Opera House and the former Chittenden Bank building.
Foley has said the property that once housed CVPS will be “rebranded” as 77 Grove.
(Editor’s note: Alan J. Keays worked for many years as a reporter and editor at the Rutland Herald.)