Bennington, VT – Vermont’s largest town is looking to convert a century-old school building and in the process address three key issues: housing, child care and care for seniors.
On Monday, the Town of Bennington and a local real estate developer agreed to a plan to convert the old Bennington High School.
The $30 million project will convert the building into 39 apartments. The gym will be renovated with a weight room and lockers. The YMCA will operate the gym and a 104-spot childcare facility. There will also be a senior center, office space and a commercial kitchen.
Real Estate developer Hale Resources is behind the project. It says the company will be footing 90% of the price and is awaiting more state and federal dollars. The Town of Bennington will be on the hook for $2.5 million and will be renting about a third of the space.
Hale Resources CEO Zack Hale says having the town as the anchor tenant was what sealed the deal. He says, “We actually tried to do a project in 20-14 and did some studies and what really held us back was not having an anchor tenant.” He adds its “the perfect opportunity to push the project forward and be able to utilize the rest of the building.”
Hale says 17 of the apartments will be perpetually affordable housing and that it’s working with the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board on the details. Hale plans to break ground in March, 2024 with work expected to take 18 months.