Smart Growth in Action: Burlington's Banknorth Redevelopment
Downtown renovation is a tricky business, and the redevelopment of an entire block on King Street in the heart of downtown Burlington is no exception. Known as the Banknorth block, this prime location is seeing infill from one side to the other, with everything from from upscale residential condominiums to office space and affordable housing.
In 2002, Redstone, Housing Vermont and Champlain Housing Trust partnered to acquire the majority of the block from TD Banknorth. The redevelopment of the historic Hinds Lofts was the first project to be completed, and twelve of the fifteen condominiums are now sold and occupied.
Next door to the Hinds Lofts, Champlain Housing Trust is constructing a four-story LEED-certified building on King Street that will house their staff and operations, offer rental space to other organizations, and provide affordable apartments on the top two floors.
Additionally, two historic buildings along the Pine Street side of the block are being converted to condominiums. Although this is not part of the larger redevelopment described above, the project will compliment the mixture of uses on the block and provide additional housing opportunities for people who want to live within walking and biking distance to everything downtown Burlington has to offer.
Finally, Redstone has begun rehab on the historic Woodbury’s Armory at the corner of Pine and Main. They’re looking for commercial tenants and plan to incorporate the historic building into a major infill project in the center of the block. Eventually the center of the block will feature a +/- 300 car parking structure with a large mixed-use building above.
Projects like this one are happening all over Vermont. Their popularity is an indication of how much interest there is in living close to downtowns. As gas prices continue to rise, demand for downtown housing will only increase, and communities that embrace smart growth principles will be well positioned to benefit.