Voters in St. Albans will be asked at Town Meeting to approve plans for two apartment complexes after the projects were promptly approved by City Council on Monday
The complexes, totaling nearly 90 units, will also need approval from the state. But Monday’s council vote was an important first step, said City Manager Dominic Cloud.
“We’re targeting these for workforce housing, between 80 and 120 percent of the area median income,” he said. “That’s your working population, your schools teachers, your firefighters.”
Cloud said the first complex would be built on property next to City Hall and the second along Center Street. The city has purchased about 80 percent of the land needed, he said. The $10 million price tag cost will be funded predominantly from the city’s tax increment financing district.
The city has plans for some 200 housing units, including a 60-unit project on Congress and Main, the remodeling of the old courthouse on Kingman Street and there’s a new complex on Lake Street.
“For a community of 7000 people in 2 square miles, that’s a pretty ambitious goal,” Cloud said. “But we’re in a crisis. The number of employers I talk with that say I just can’t find the workers, and they need a place to live.”
Cloud says there is a significant gap between what it costs to develop new housing in Vermont and rental rates. He said St. Albans has used TIF funding to close that gap.
“When the market can’t provide what the community envisions, we need to contemplate a different role for the municipality,” he said.