The Vermont Community Loan Fund (VCLF) approved $1,379,000 in financing to affordable housing developers, and small businesses throughout Vermont, during the first quarter of 2012.
“With these loans, the Loan Fund is helping to create and preserve quality jobs, affordable housing and opportunity for low-income Vermonters,” said Will Belongia, executive director of VCLF.
Projects approved for VCLF financing include:
Bella Farm LLC, Monkton
Bella Farms will use a loan from the Vermont Community Loan Fund to purchase farm equipment as part of an expansion of their farm operations. When, in August of last year Tropical Storm Irene descended on Burlington’s Intervale Center, the damaging flood waters altered the course of many. Among them, Bella Farms, which cultivated a two acre parcel there, growing organic basil and garlic, and building their business. After the flood, Bell relocated to a 20-acre farm property in Monkton and once again ‘put down roots’. Bella Farms had already expanded to add production of their own organic, dairy- and nut-free pesto, and herb-infused olive oils, along with several varieties of garlic and herbs. Now another expansion was about to begin. They met with the Vermont Community Loan Fund through The Carrot Project, which partners with farmers, lenders, investors, donors, and farm service providers to create and administer regional financing for New England farmers. After leaving the Intervale which offered shared farming equipment, Bella Farms needed to purchase additional equipment of their own – a weeder, brush hog mower, and a cooler as immediate needs. This VCLF loan has enabled them to do so, and thus to move forward with their business expansion plans.
Champlain Housing Trust – Bright Street, Burlington
The Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) is a membership-based nonprofit providing a wide range of housing, including affordable housing, throughout Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties.
They will use a VCLF loan to purchase .8 acres of land and two homes at 47 Bright Street
and 35-39 Bright Street in Burlington. CHT also owns a property on nearby Archibald Street that includes ten apartments leased to clients of Howard Center. Together, these properties present a unique redevelopment opportunity that is projected to significantly improve the neighborhood. The potential larger neighborhood redevelopment project, with possibly as many as 25-30 new units of housing, is planned to include affordable as well as mixed-income, and market-rate apartments and possibly some affordable homeownership units.
Housing Trust of Rutland County, Brandon
The Housing Trust of Rutland County, Inc. a non-profit organization serving Rutland County with affordable housing projects, will use a VCLF loan for predevelopment costs associated with the creation of 18 new one and two bedroom apartments at the redeveloped Brandon Training School (BTS), now known as Park Village. This project will serve 25 very low income households in Brandon, and will include 3 handicap-accessible units. This project will also involve USDA rental subsidy on 17 of the18 units. In addition to the Park Village site, nine additional units at the Erastus Thayer House on Route 7 in the heart of Brandon will be preserved as affordable housing. This portion of the project will also receive rental subsidy from the USDA, and additional energy efficiency/renewable energy improvements are planned for the site.
Saxton’s River Housing LP, Saxton’s River
Saxton’s River HLP is an affordable housing project consisting of seven buildings, housing 17 apartments. They will use a VCLF loan for energy improvements to their buildings, such as new windows and thermostats. The general partners involved in this project are Housing Vermont (HVT) and Windham-Windsor Housing Trust (WWHT). WWHT (formerly the Brattleboro Area Community Land Trust) acquires and holds land and housing in trust in order to provide permanent access to affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents of Windham and Windsor County.
Vermont Wood Pellet, North Clarendon
Vermont Wood Pellet Co. LLC, a manufacturer of wood pellets in North Clarendon will use a VCLF line of credit to purchase raw materials and finance the production of finished goods during the off-heating season. Vermont Wood Pellet’s test mill operation, one of only two such mills in the country, experimented with several different species of wood to come up with a composition to meet standards for a soft wood, low ash, hot burning wood pellet. There is a ready supply of the wood used for VWP’s pellets within a 30 mile radius of the company’s facility, allowing for local harvesting as well as processing.
Wall Goldfinger, manufacturer of high-end wood crafted office furnishings, will use a VCLF loan to replace and repair equipment that was damaged as a result of flooding from Tropical Storm Irene. WG has been in business for over 40 years, having evolved from a small, local, woodworking shop to a widely known builder of custom corporate furniture with major corporate, institutional and government clients nationally and internationally. After Irene severely damaged their Northfield manufacturing plant, WG relocated part of its staff, temporarily, to the Gray Building offices in Northfield. Throughout the transitions brought about by Irene, the company has continued to move forward and will soon be relocating to a new facility in Randolph.