Montpelier, VT – The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) has approved financing of $15.2 million to help Vermont commercial, agricultural and renewable energy economic development projects move forward. The projects total nearly $41 million.
“VEDA is pleased to offer financing assistance that willhelp businesses expand, enhance recreational and tourism offerings in our state, and support Vermont agriculture,” said VEDA CEO Jo Bradley. “Renewable energy generation projects will also come to fruition with VEDA’s help.”
Commercial loans totaling $6.8 million were approved by VEDA, including:
· Smugglers Notch Resort, Jeffersonville – VEDA approved financing of $1 million as part of Smugglers Notch Resort’s $4.1 million project to redevelop its Fun Zone facility. Union Bank is also providing financing for the project. The new Fun Zone will be a 26,000 square foot, two-story facility that will be open year-round, and feature a Ninja Warrior obstacle course, climbing wall, gravity slide, slot car racing and arcade among other entertainment options. Founded as a small ski area in 1956, Smugglers today is a nationally-acclaimed multi-seasonal family-centered village resort that has been named a Top Destination for Families by Parenting Magazine. Amenities include three interconnected mountains with 78 ski trails and eight lifts, 650 condominiums, four waterparks, eight swimming pools, ten outdoor lighted tennis courts, an extensive children’s care and entertainment program, and more. The resort has 511 employees.
· Franklin County Industrial Development Corp., St. Albans – VEDA approved financing of $578,580 to partially fund completion of infrastructure improvements to four of the nine lots in the expanded 93-acre St. Albans Industrial Park. The improvements to the park land will prepare the lots for sale and development. A Northern Borders Regional Commission Grant that was awarded to FCIDC will offset some of the costs of the project, intended to support the continued growth of manufacturing and jobs creation in Franklin County.
· Cabot Hosiery, Inc., Northfield - VEDA approved financing of $160,000 as part of Cabot Hosiery’s $400,000 capital improvements and machinery and equipment project; in addition, People’s United Bank is providing financing for the project. Begun in 1978, Cabot Hosiery, Inc. is a long-established family-owned and -operated sock manufacturing company. The company’s recent growth has been driven primarily by the success of the company’s “Darn Tough Vermont” proprietary line of premium performance socks, currently available in over 1,600 retail outlets throughout the U.S. and Canada. Cabot Hosiery, Inc. has 210 employees, a number expected to grow to 330 within three years of the project.
· Vermont Distillers, Inc., West Marlboro - VEDA approved $50,000 in financing to help micro-distillery Vermont Distillers, Inc. purchase distillation equipment that will be used to produce an apple brandy using fermented cider from locally-produced apples, and make smaller production runs of other distilled spirits. Operating since 2012, Vermont Distillers, Inc. was founded in 2010 after its owners won $10,000 in the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation’s annual business plan competition.
· Mullaney Hospitality Group, Manchester - VEDA approved $1.5 million as partial financing for a $17.7 million hotel construction project in Manchester. With partial financing also provided by Mascoma Savings Bank, experienced hotel operators and developers Mullaney Hospitality Group are constructing a new 97-room, 62,000 square foot Hampton Inn & Suites Hotel on 2.63 acres on Main Street. The first national chain hotel approved for in-town construction by the Town of Manchester, the Hampton Inn & Suites is expected to create 26 new jobs within three years of construction.
· Lake Champlain Waldorf School, Shelburne – VEDA gave final approval to the reissuance of $2.6 million in nonprofit tax-exempt revenue bonds to refinance prior debt incurred in the renovations and improvements made to the School’s campus facilities in Shelburne. Northfield Savings Bank will purchase the bonds. Founded in 1984, Lake Champlain Waldorf School is Vermont’s largest, nondenominational pre-K through12th grade independent, nonprofit day school. The 22-acre Early Childhood and Grade School campus on Turtle Lane is located within a large Nature Conservancy property; the High School is adjacent to Shelburne Museum. The School has 38 faculty and staff, a number expected to increase to 40 within three years.
VEDA also approved $2.5 million in financing through the Authority’s Commercial Energy Loan Program, which helps Vermont businesses finance qualifying renewable energy generation and energy efficiency improvement projects. Together, the projects approved for VEDA financing will produce enough renewable electricity to power the equivalent of 453 average households, and reduce CO2 emissions by 1,248 tons each year. Projects approved for VEDA energy financing include:
· $350,000 in partial financing to support the construction by Round Barn Solar, LLC of a group net-metered 144 kW solar array on 1.38 acres in Grand Isle to help provide renewable energy to 76 low-income residential units of Housing Vermont-financed housing partnerships in the region, and reduce the electric costs to these partnerships. Housing Vermont is a non-profit housing development company located in Burlington, and Round Barn Solar is an entity formed by a subsidiary of Housing Vermont. With the additional help of tax credit equity financing for the project, Round Barn Solar will enter into 20-year net-metering agreements with four local housing partnerships in which Housing Vermont is the General Partner: two Champlain Housing Trust partnerships in Alburgh and Grand Isle, and two Richford Renaissance Corporation partnerships in Richford. Each partnership will pay Round Barn Solar 90% of the electricity credits they receive from Vermont Electric Cooperative under the terms of the Net Metering Agreements;
· $300,000 in partial permanent financing to support the development by Great Bay Hydro Corporation of a 150 kW AC solar array in Newport. Great Bay Hydro will utilize part of the power being generated by the project, and the City of Newport has entered into a Net Metering Agreement to purchase the remainder of the net metering electric credits;
· $150,000 in partial financing to support construction by Waterford Community Solar, LLC of a group net-metered 150 kW solar array on 1.3 acres of land in Waterford. The Town of St. Johnsbury, through a five-year power purchase agreement with Waterford Community Solar, will be the off-taker of a portion of the electricity credits generated by the project; and
· $51,000 in partial financing to support the purchase by Gristmill Properties of a 42 kW solar system on its property in Waterbury Center that it has been leasing from AllEarth Renewables for five years. Gristmill Properties uses 100% of the power generated from the project solar panels to reduce the electric expenses of the 14,300 square foot facility it owns called Gristmill Energy Mill (GEM). GEM is Vermont’ largest net-zero office building that produces electricity with free standing tracking solar panels, heats and cools with geothermal, and produces hot water with roof top solar panels.
Agricultural loans totaling $5.9 million also were approved through the Authority’s agricultural loan program, the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC), which provides financing for Vermont farmers, agricultural facilities and forest product businesses.
The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) is Vermont’s economic development finance lender, providing financing for Vermont businesses and farms. VEDA was created by the General Assembly in 1974 with a mission “to contribute to the creation and retention of quality jobs in Vermont by providing loans and other financial support to eligible and qualified Vermont industrial, commercial and agricultural enterprises.”
Over the years, VEDA has grown and adapted its financing programs to keep pace with an ever-changing economy. VEDA offers a wide range of low-cost lending options for Vermont businesses and farms of all sizes, and the Authority’s lending solutions are customized to each borrower’s individual needs. Whether in the form of direct loans, tax-exempt bond issuance or loan guarantee support, VEDA’s innovative financing programs help ensure that Vermont businesses and farms have the capital they need to grow and succeed. VEDA most often lends in conjunction with banks and other financing partners, helping to stimulate economic development activity in Vermont.
Since 1974, VEDA has provided over $2.16 billion in financing assistance to thousands of eligible Vermont entrepreneurs, manufacturers, small businesses, family farms, and agricultural enterprises, helping them to realize their business growth goals, create jobs, and enhance the vitality of Vermont’s economy. For more information about VEDA, visit www.veda.org or call 802-828-JOBS.