Business & Economy

Affordable condos added to plans for former Burlington College land

Cambrian Rise
A design rendering of the proposed Cambrian Rise project on the former Burlington College campus. Courtesy of city of Burlington

BURLINGTON — Plans for a new neighborhood on North Avenue are now expected to include up to 60 condominiums to be sold below market rates.

Cambrian Rise, a mixed-use development with more than 700 apartments and condominiums planned on the former Burlington College land, announced a deal with Champlain Housing Trust to provide the affordable condos.

The project includes 10 new buildings with new streets, a hotel, commercial space, a 12-acre public park, community gardens and other amenities.

Cambrian Rise developer Eric Farrell is already partnering with Champlain Housing Trust to rent 128 apartments at below-market rates to satisfy Burlington’s inclusionary zoning ordinance, which aims to have a certain percentage of new housing qualify as affordable. The deal announced Wednesday to sell condos at a discount will also help Farrell meet the inclusionary zoning requirements.

Michael Monte, chief operations and financial officer for Champlain Housing Trust, said in a statement that the permanently affordable homes will have a positive impact on “this very challenging housing market in Chittenden County.”

“Combined with the affordable family and senior rentals planned for this site, there will be nearly 200 new affordable homes in Burlington to provide a wide range of options,” Monte added.

The agreement covers 30 condominiums Champlain Housing Trust will purchase for $6.3 million, a discount from their market value of $8.5 million. The trust will use its shared equity homeowner program to sell the condos for between $140,000 and $180,000 each. The median sale price for a Chittenden County home in the first half of 2017 was $287,000.

Champlain Housing Trust’s shared equity program provides down payment assistance to qualified buyers in exchange for paying forward a portion of the appreciation of their home when they sell, thereby keeping the home affordable in perpetuity.

The deal is dependent on Farrell obtaining the necessary permits for the project, which is currently under Act 250 environmental review. Cambrian Rise is scheduled for a hearing before the district commission Sept. 20.

It also depends on Champlain Housing Trust securing the financing to support the purchase. The nonprofit housing trust has applied for some of that money through a $34 million housing bond issued by the state. Grants from the bond proceeds will be made by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.

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