Bennington secures $350,000 deferred loan for energy upgrades at Applegate

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BENNINGTON>> Additional federal funding has brought a multimillion project to improve energy efficiency at the Applegate housing complex one step closer to breaking ground.

A $350,000 deferred-loan has been granted to the town of Bennington for the project, which includes new windows, insulation and installing a bio-mass heating system,

The funding was officially announced Friday and was among eight projects receiving more than $2.9 million from the state's Community Development Program.

The ownership originally requested more money from the competetive grant program than was actually awarded and the $6 million project has a funding gap of about $200,000, according to Matt Moore, developer with Applegate co-owner Housing Vermont. But Moore noted the project has yet to go out to bid and everything is based off of cost estimates. And the developer has also not finalized everything with the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA).

Moore said his organization is moving ahead to put the project out to bid and hopes to secure the funding necessary to start work this summer.

The project will be paid for using a mix of state and federal grants, low-income housing tax credits and bank financing. The final $9.6 million price tag includes $1.6 million for architect, engineer, legal and other fees and the refinancing of $2 million in existing loans.

Housing Vermont of Burlington co-owns the 104-unit complex with the residents association Applegate Housing, Inc. Local non-profit Shires Housing will serve as general partner in the project and a new entity will be formed to secure financing.

The complex was built in 1973 and underwent a major overhaul of its buildings and grounds in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but still don't meet current energy codes. And the current owners have said reducing energy costs is essential because the complex is not sustaining itself financially — about $180,000 is spent each year on heating fuel.

The project calls for removing the 29 oil-fired boilers throughout the 23-building complex. They would be replaced with a single, centrally-located biomass boiler which will burn wood pellets and wood chips from local suppliers. New windows and doors, and insulation in the buildings' attics and their interiors and exteriors, will be installed to make the complex meet current energy codes.

Other work will include repairs and upgrades to water and sewer lines; improvements to roadways, sidewalks and parking areas; and new electrical infrastructure. Maloney Property Management will continue to manage the property.

Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979


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