New Owners To Keep Four Winds Rents Cathedral Square to Buy Senior Housing Complex

By: Leon Thompson
Published in: St. Albans Messenger October 19, 2007

St. Albans City – With one Franklin County property in its portfolio – and the chance to be a partner in another – Cathedral Square Corporation (CSC) is set to buy one of the city’s oldest senior housing complexes.

CSC, a non-profit company that manages properties for seniors and people with special needs, will close on the Four Winds senior facility in January, according to Amy Wright, CSC development director.

The firm also confirmed Thursday that it is in discussions to create more new housing on the former site of the Fonda/Solo plant on Lower Newton Street.

CSC held a meeting Thursday with many of the 49 residents at Four Winds, tucked into the corner of Lower Newton and North Elm Streets in St. Albans.

“A lot of residents have been there a long time,” Wright said.

Emile Legere, of Keene, N.H., developed Four Winds in 1980. The complex has 44 apartments and 49 residents, who all pay 30 percent of their income in rent. One-third of the residents are 80 or older.

Wright said the rent structure would not change under CSC ownership and management.

Wright said Legere, owner of Emile Legere Management, contacted CSC about Four Winds in late 2006, because he wanted to divest his Vermont properties. He owns another in Springfield.

Legere knew the property was at-risk of becoming market-rate housing, but with CSC, he knew his tenants could still afford their rent, Wright said.

“He decided he didn’t want to have property this far off,” she said. “He contacted us because he wanted to make sure the property stayed affordable and well-managed.”

Four Winds will see physical changes under CSC. Starting next spring, the organization will re-grade the basements, so they stay dry, and perform minor work on the interior water and sewer lines.

There is also a four-year plan to renovate the bedrooms and bathrooms. CSC will also paint the outside of the building, repair siding, and install a new energy-efficient heating system.

Jaime Audette, of Swanton, who manages CSC’s Hawk’s Nest housing center in St. Albans Town, will also be the new Four Winds property manager. She will split her time between Four Winds and the Hawk’s Nest, Wright said.

CSC and Yandow-Dousevicz Construction, a South Burlington Developer, partnered to build the 60-plus-unit Hawk’s Nest, a massive senior housing facility located near the intersection of Route 36 and Route 104 in St. Albans Town.

Wright said there is a 100-person waiting list at Hawk’s Nest. That need is why Yandow-Dousevicz has joined with the city to build 100 senior apartments at the dormant Fonda/Solo lot, on Lower Newton Street.

The city bought the Solo plant and parcel on Sept. 10 – for $300,000 – with the intent of having control over the property as plans proceed to build the Federal Street Intermodal Connector.

CSC has not signed an agreement to manage the Solo-based senior apartments, but the group is at the table and in discussions with Yandow-Dousevicz, Wright said.

“It’s quite possible that we would either manage the property or help the project move forward,” Wright said. “We think the need is great in Franklin County for this type of housing.”

CSC was founded as a ministry of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in 1977, and by 1979 CSC had opened its first building in downtown Burlington.

Today, CSC owns and manages 23 housing communities located in four Vermont counties. CSC also has senior housing facilities in: Burlington, Colchester, Essex, Essex Junction, Jericho, Richmond, South Burlington, Waterbury and Williston.

People with questions about CSC’s purchase of Four Winds should call Jaime Audette at 802-527-9870.