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Bennington Development Group Completes $2 Million Putnam Block Purchase

This drawing shows part of the plan developers have for The Putnam Block in downtown Bennington.
courtesy of Stevens &-Associates
This drawing shows part of the plan developers have for The Putnam Block in downtown Bennington.

A development group in Bennington says it's acquired a major downtown property that's part of a $50 million renovation project.The Bennington County Industrial Corporation, a nonprofit development organization, says it completed the $2 million purchase of the Putnam Block, a group of six buildings located in the center of Bennington.

The industrial corporation has been working with the Bennington Redevelopment Group, which is made up of local business leaders and investors.

“The transfer of the Putnam Block properties to BCIC represents the exciting next step toward the realization of a revitalized downtown Bennington," said Bill Colvin, assistant director at the Bennington County Regional Commission. "It is a milestone that signals to the community continued progress on this vital project.”  

The properties that were purchased this week include the Putnam Hotel, the Old Courthouse and Pennysaver building, the Winslow Building and the Oldcastle Theatre.

The group wants to redevelop the largely vacant properties and bring in new shops and restaurants, as well as market-rate apartments.

The group is also working with Bennington College, Southern Vermont College and Southwestern Vermont Health Care, who have all agreed to locate offices in the new space.

The funding for the Putnam Block revitalization is slated to come from a combination of debt, grants and equity.

Debt financing will be sought from private sources, banks, and the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA). Grants have been secured from the Vermont Community Development Program, State of Vermont and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields programs and Citizens for a Greater Bennington. 

The project has also received Federal and State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits.

Colvin says they hope phase 1 of the historic building redevelopment will begin in "late fall or early spring."

Howard Weiss-Tisman is Vermont Public’s southern Vermont reporter, but sometimes the story takes him to other parts of the state.
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