BENNINGTON — The approval of tax credits for two historic downtown structures that are part of the Putnam Block redevelopment site was announced this week by Gov. Phil Scott.
The awards were among $2.7 million in downtown and village center tax incentives toward rehabilitation of 22 properties across Vermont.
The credits will support more than $50 million in downtown and village center construction and rehabilitation efforts. In 2017, tax credits will offset major developments in 19 communities.
“Tax credits that reduce development costs, along with streamlined permitting in areas the state has designated for growth, are proven tools to create jobs and increase our tax base,” Scott said.
In Bennington, the Old Courthouse building at 109 South St., and the Winslow Block, at 355 Main St. were among properties receiving the tax credit support. Both are within the four-acre site for the proposed $53 million Putnam Block redevelopment project around the former Hotel Putnam at the Four Corners intersection. The planned first phase of the project, expected to go to bid in the fall, includes renovation of those three historic and adjacent structures for retail, entertainment and housing space.
Bill Colvin, assistant director of the Bennington County Regional Commission, who has acted as a contact person for the Putnam project developers, the Bennington Redevelopnent Group says the Federal Historic Rehabilitation Credits and the corresponding Vermont Downtown Tax Credits are essential sources of funding for the Putnam Redevelopment Project.
The group “is deeply appreciative that Governor Scott’s administration and the Vermont Downtown Board supported its application for tax credits and helped move the Putnam Redevelopment Project that much closer to reality.”
Colvin said the group will be applying for similar credits for the Putnam hotel building next June.
The former Courthouse building dates to 1870 and was converted into a commercial block, housing an A&P market and then the former Pennysaver Press. The building will be rehabilitated using state and federal tax credits with two commercial storefronts on the ground floor and an open office in the former courtroom.
The total project cost is estimated at $2,869,408. The tax credit award is $200,089.
The Winslow building is made up of originally detached buildings joined as a single block around 1923. Currently vacant, the building will be rehabilitated using state and federal tax credits into three commercial storefronts, with Bennington College office suites and 13 efficiency units for graduate students on the upper floors.
Total total project cost was estimated at $8,167,697, with tax credits awarded totalling $491,003.
The state designation programs in the Agency of Commerce and Community Development target investments to build strong communities and promote the efficient use of land, infrastructure and resources. Nearly 170 community centers are designated (both downtowns and villages), allowing them to receive priority consideration for state grants and access to state tax incentives.
“I was delighted that the General Assembly supported the governor’s proposal to increase the program’s funding by $200,000 and expand the Department’s efforts to build strong and vital communities,” said state Department of Housing and Community Development Commissioner Katie Buckley. “It’s a wise investment as every dollar of tax credit leverages an average of $17 in outside funding.”
Find a complete list of the projects awarded tax credits here.