Stone Church, Sanel Building get state tax credits

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BRATTLEBORO — Two downtown projects are the recipients of nearly $285,000 in tax credits from the state, according to the office of Gov. Phil Scott.

A local development company received tax credits worth $168,478 toward the $7 million project of redeveloping the Sanel Building, and The Stone Church has received $116,000 in tax credits toward $572,595 in repairs and code upgrades.

The Sanel Building — referred to as a "blighted historic property" in a statement by the governor — is being rehabilitated by M&S Development. The company was founded by Bob Stevens, of Stevens and Associates, and attorney Craig Miskovitch, of the local office of Downs Rachlin and Martin, who successfully rehabilitated the Brooks House on Main Street after it was devastated by a fire in 2011.

The plan for redeveloping the Sanel Building is to convert it into the Southern Vermont American Job Center, with tenants including the Vermont Department of Labor, the regional office of Vermont VocRehab and the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation. The project also includes mixed-income residential units on the top floor, a co-working business incubation space and upgrades such as an elevator.

Work at The Stone Church, a former All Souls Unitarian Church at 210 Main St., will include repairs to the facade of the building as well as code upgrades, including the installation of a sprinkler system and the construction of an outdoor ADA ramp.

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Robin Johnson rehabilitated the church into a performance and events space. He credits the state for having a program that facilitates the rehabilitation and revitalization of Vermont's iconic village centers.

"For us, specifically, it will help us continue our mission of providing a program of diverse, high quality entertainment for the community, and a flexible, stunning and unique venue for public and private events," he said.

The awards were part of $2.8 million in tax credits disbursed by the state for the revitalization of villages and downtowns around Vermont. In total, 24 projects received tax credits, including $112,500 for 219 Pleasant St. in Bennington, a multi-family, affordable housing historic home.

According to the governor, in 2019, tax credits will offset the costs of major investments to support projects in 14 Vermont communities.

"Since this program began, over 370 projects have received over $30 million in tax credits to help bring existing buildings up to code and put underused or vacant buildings back into productive use," said Josh Hanford, chairman of the Downtown Board and commissioner of the Department of Housing and Community Development. "This program has conservatively leveraged $800 million in outside investments and has done so much to improve Vermont's quality of life, sense of place, economy and brand."

Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 151, or raudette@reformer.com.


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