Development in Essex Junction

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While Church Street is the number one downtown destination in Chittenden County, other communities continue to look for ways to attract people.  Essex and Essex Junction hoping new development will create their own vibrant downtown area.

In Essex, village and town leaders hope residential and business projects will help people recognize their hidden gem.

“The Five Corners is the jewel in the crown, and also the skunk at the picnic, so how do we move away from one to the other,” asked Robin Pierce, Community Development Director for Essex Village.  He is one of many town leaders who have high hopes for the town and village, specifically the Five Corners area.  “There’s been a big focus in the downtown business area of Essex Junction, to redefine it from the stand point of what’s here, how do we maximize the potential that’s there, and what could be there,” stated Municipal Manager Patrick Scheidel.

Scheidel says it’s an exciting time for both area.  A handful of projects are underway.  Everything from a new 30 unit apartment building, to improvements to municipal offices.  “We probably bought 20 years of life in the improvements that are being made,” commented Scheidel.

Pierce says work is also progressing on a new mixed-use building in the heart of Essex Junction.  “It’s probably the largest private investment in the village in the last 20, 25 years.  It means we’re going to have a lot of people living here, who can also shop here, recreate here,” he said.  The building will feature stores and restaurants on street level, as well as 51 apartments on the upper floors.

“It’s actually fantastic.  It’s a great location, and location is key,” said Tom Patterson, Manager of On Tap Bar and Grill in Essex Junction.  He supports bringing more business to the area with a bigger focus on Essex’s downtown.  “If this area can start to come up and start to boom a little bit, I think we can really compete.  It’s a great place to be,” Patterson said.

And with plans to create the Crescent Connector Road to increase traffic efficiency around five corners; and the possibility of closing off a portion of Main Street to increase foot traffic town leaders are, “Laying the groundwork and a rock solid foundation for the next 20, 25 years which I think is going to be wonderful,” concluded Scheidel

Just last week the Vermont Downtown Board approved the Essex Village request to change the Five Corner area from a Village Center, to a Neighborhood Development Area.  The designation gives Essex Junction more ability to promote residential and business growth, while becoming an improved walk-able and bike-able community.

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