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Housing Trust Looks to Expand Affordable Housing Project in Hartford

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 1/12/2019 11:51:59 PM
Modified: 1/12/2019 11:51:59 PM

Hartford — Twin Pines Housing Trust is applying to expand its rental complex off of Sykes Mountain Avenue while eyeing the construction of new units on Hartford Avenue in Wilder.

Citing an increasing need for affordable and mixed-income housing in the Upper Valley, Twin Pines has applied to the Hartford Planning Commission to expand phase two of its $9 million project on Wentworth Way — a new street the project is creating — from 15 to 17 townhouse units.

“We’re excited to add these units to the marketplace because there is a very low vacancy rate for affordable housing in the area, and every major employer has vacant positions,” Twin Pines Executive Director Andrew Winter said. “This is an important way to help attract people to the Upper Valley.”

The one-, two- and three-bedroom units will be open to families and individuals who earn 50 percent to 120 percent of Windsor County’s median household income for a family of four, or around $73,200.

Phase one of the project, a three-story building with 15 one-bedroom apartments and 15 two-bedroom apartments, is targeted for completion by early summer, according to Winter.

“With phase one well underway and a lot of the infrastructure like plumbing and electrical in place, we realized this was a way we could enhance phase two,” he said in a Friday phone interview.

Meanwhile, Twin Pines and its partner organization Housing Vermont hope to purchase a vacant lot at 1965 Hartford Ave., across Route 5 from Datamann Inc., and construct a building containing four two-bedroom apartments and eight parking spots, Winter said.

The former location of an auto repair shop that burned down, according to Winter, the 0.34-acre plot has been identified as a brownfield site, meaning it contains environmental contaminants.

The plot is considered a priority for redevelopment by Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Planning Commission and the Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation, Winter said.

An Advance Transit bus stop is adjacent to the property.

“There are a number of heavy metals in the soil from its former use, and some remediation efforts have already been done,” said Winter, who valued the project at around $6 million. “Part of our job will be to complete that remediation before building.”

Twin Pines hopes to combine phase two of the Wentworth Avenue project with the pending construction on Hartford Avenue to take advantage of what he called “common financing,” allowing fixed costs to be spread between both sites. “It can be useful to combine financing across multiple properties, so the projects can share tools and other resources,” Winter said.

The Wentworth Way project is being funded by a number of sources, including federal low-income tax credits, the Vermont Community Development Program, and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.

Twin Pines Housing Trust owns a housing portfolio of 417 rental units in the Upper Valley, including five complexes in Hartford, Winter said. There are another 123 units in various stages of construction, and it plans to break ground this summer on a three-story, 24-unit apartment complex for seniors and disabled people at Summer Park near Hanover High School.

The agenda for a Hartford Planning Commission meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. on Jan. 21 at Town Hall includes considering approval of Twin Pines’ applications, including its site development plan for phase two at Wentworth Way. A one-step subdivision for a lot line adjustment on the corner of Maple Street and Pine Street in White River Junction also will be considered, according to the agenda.

Jared Pendak can be reached at jpendak@vnews.com or 603-727-3216.




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