Building near Putnam Block sold

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BENNINGTON — A majority interest in a downtown landmark adjacent the proposed Putnam Block redevelopment site has been sold.

Matteson Acres LLC purchased more than 70 percent of 113-15 South St. — the former Drysdale department store — from Applejack-Drysdale LLC for $425,000 on Sept. 1. The building is operated as a condominium with four individually owned housing units on the third floor of the building and the new owner controlling the first and second floors and leasing space to the commercial tenants.

The building now houses Jay's Art Shop & Frame Gallery on the first floor and has Bennington County Regional Commission office space on the second, as well as the condominium units on the third floor.

The structure is adjacent the former Old Courthouse and close to both the former Hotel Putnam and Windslow Building.

All of the historic structures are located around the Four Corners intersection, where a $53 million redevelopment of six parcels and buildings over four acres is proposed.

Jon Hale, manager of Matteson Acres, LLC, said Tuesday that his business, Hale Resources, has acted as caretaker for the existing buildings of the Putnam Block, which now are owned by the Greenberg family but are expected to be transferred to the developers.

"I bought it so that someone from out of town didn't buy it," he said, expressing a concern that the wrong type of ownership could hamper the multi-year Putnam Block plan.

Bennington Redevelopment Group, LLC, a consortium of local institutions, business leaders and individual investors, proposes creating up to 200,000 square feet of renovated or new building space on the Putnam site.

The first phase of the project is expected to go to construction in the fall, with permitting review by the town underway before the Development Review Board.

Jay Zwynenburg, of Jay's Art Shop, said he's pleased to see the property in the hands of a local owner.

"It is nice to have someone right here in town," he said. "I look at it as an improvement."

Hale said the Drysdale Building "is pretty well renovated as is," and he has no immediate plans for changes.

He said he is interested to see how the Putnam Block redevelopment rolls out over the next few years.

A condominium association oversees the Drysdale Building, Hale said, with his ownership share at 71.9 percent.

Jim Therrien writes for New England Newspapers in Southern Vermont and VTDigger.org. @BB_therrien on Twitter.

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