Photo from March 10, 2017, press conferenceDecades after a city center was first envisioned for South Burlington, the city is gearing up for construction to begin as early as this summer on the first component of a “downtown” for South Burlington: a 39-unit affordable residence for seniors being developed by the nonprofit Cathedral Square Corporation in partnership with Snyder Braverman Development Company LLC and People’s United Bank.

Governor Phil Scott announced a $525,000 grant to help jump-start the project at a press conference Friday morning, March 10, at South Burlington City Hall. The grant, awarded by the state using federal Community Development Block Grant funds, will help the city and developers move forward with the project, which will be constructed on Market Street.

A number of state and local leaders, including representatives from Vermont’s three-member congressional delegation, former state senator and current South Burlington City Council chair Helen Riehle and City Manager Kevin Dorn were on hand to receive the award. Cathedral Square CEO Kim Fitzgerald noted the urgency of the project, citing Vermont’s growing senior population, the shortage of affordable housing and the fact that the organization currently has more than 800 people on its waiting list in Chittenden and Franklin counties.

In addition to praising the South Burlington project and affirming that his administration will be “pushing back hard” against severe cuts in affordable housing and community development proposed by the Trump administration, Governor Scott used the opportunity to plug the funding mechanism known as tax-increment financing, or “TIF,” which will play a major role in making South Burlington’s city center a reality. Scott wants to expand the use of TIF to bring similar development to towns throughout Vermont.

Pending Cathedral Square’s anticipated receipt of tax-credit financing from the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, construction of City Center Senior Housing would begin this July, with occupancy slated for June 2018.

“This is an ideal location for senior housing,” Fitzgerald said of the South Burlington location. “It’s near medical services, public transportation, and shopping and will have the award-winning, care-coordination model SASH on site.”

SASH®, or Support and Services at Home, brings together nonprofit housing providers, social service agencies and community health providers to coordinate care and provide individualized supports to seniors, enabling them to age in place safely and healthfully. A federally commissioned evaluation of SASH showed that it reduced growth in annual Medicare expenditures by $1,536 per participant while measurably improving health outcomes.

Cathedral Square Corporation is a leader in the development of affordable, service-enriched housing communities for seniors and individuals with special needs. A nonprofit organization founded in Burlington in 1977, CSC owns and/or manages 28 senior housing communities in Vermont and administers the SASH program statewide as part of Vermont’s Blueprint for Health.