Burlington community leaders, project investors, public funders, and residents joined Housing Vermont and the Burlington Housing Authority on January 15 to celebrate the completion of efforts to preserve Burlington’s Bobbin Mill Apartments as affordable housing and to make needed capital improvements. This 51-unit Section 8 property and nearby Wharf Lane Apartments were the focus of community concern when the previous owners had the opportunity to sell the properties and change their use.
“With the City’s support, the Burlington Housing Authority and Housing Vermont have accomplished difficult and important work,” said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger. “Not only are the residents protected from the threat of dramatic rent increases, but they will also benefit from improved energy efficiency, interior upgrades, and other improvements.”
The Burlington Housing Authority (BHA) and Housing Vermont partnered to successfully negotiate the 2011 acquisition of Wharf Lane Apartments and set the terms for purchasing the Bobbin Mill Apartments the following year. The two rental developments provide a total of 88 apartments, all with project-based Section 8 rental assistance.
The Bobbin Mill Apartments are located on a 2.9 acre site between South Champlain and Pine streets south of Maple Street. Thirty-five apartments are located at 234 South Champlain Street in an historic, two-story building originally built in 1905 as a factory to make spools and bobbins for the textile industry. It represents one of the earliest known uses of concrete construction in Vermont. The 30,690 square foot building was converted to apartments in 1982. A three-story building at 235 Pine Street constructed in 1982 provides the remaining 16 apartments.
The rehabilitation focused on improving energy efficiency including new windows, improved insulation and installation of centralized heating and hot water systems. The renovations also included upgraded interiors, accessibility modifications and site improvements. A 2,300 square foot community center which also serves nearby Wharf Lane Apartments was constructed between the two buildings.
“There is much reason to celebrate today,” said Kathy Beyer, Housing Vermont’s Vice President for Development. “We have revitalized the Bobbin Mill neighborhood, providing our tenants with a warm and caring place to live. We have done this with the enormous support of our public and private funders. We thank them for their commitment and the residents for their cooperation and understanding.”
Funding sources include Housing Credit equity totaling almost $7.2 million invested by the People’s United Bank and Merchants Bank. The People’s United Bank also provided construction financing, a permanent loan of $3.825 million, and $350,000 through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s Affordable Housing Program. Merchants Bank also purchased $282,750 in state tax credits.
Other funders included the City of Burlington and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. Energy efficiency work was supported though funds from CVOEO’s Weatherization Program, Vermont Gas Systems and the Burlington Electric Department.
“The preservation of these vital affordable housing resources was a collaborative effort,” said Matthew Ham-Ellis, Director of Housing Development and Special Projects for the Burlington Housing Authority. “It would not have been possible without the compelling support of our affordable housing partners and city officials. The residents have experienced a four-year period of uncertainty, disruption and disturbance with the utmost patience and endurance. For that we are sincerely thankful.”
S2 Architecture led the professional design team and Naylor and Breen Builders acted as the general contractor. Bobbin Mill Apartments is managed by BHA which maintains on-site offices for property management and resident services. Those interested in renting an apartment should contact the Burlington Housing Authority at www.burlingtonhousing.org or (802) 864-0538.