Montpelier, VT – The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) has approved $57.4 million in bond and loan financing to support a variety of economic development projects throughout Vermont.
“VEDA is pleased to make tax-exempt bond financing available for a large-scale nonprofit development project that will produce jobs,” said VEDA Chief Executive Officer Jo Bradley. “Additional energy, agricultural, manufacturing and small business ventures also will receive financing assistance from VEDA, enabling them to create jobs and contribute to Vermont’s economic vitality.”
The project approved by VEDA for tax-exempt bond financing assistance is:
• Bennington College, Bennington – VEDA gave preliminary approval to the short-term issuance of $47.5 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds to Bennington College. The project will entail the refinancing of the college’s outstanding bonds and other debt, and provide funding for the renovation of Commons, a central building on the Bennington College campus. Founded in 1932 as a women’s college, Bennington College became co-educational in 1969 and is a private, non-sectarian, liberal arts college offering degree programs in the humanities, sciences, social sciences, and visual and performing arts. Bennington College currently has 268 employees, a number expected to increase to 305 within three years of the project.
Other economic development projects approved for financing by VEDA include:
• Zero Gravity Brewery, Burlington – After twelve years in business, beer producer Zero Gravity Brewery is ready for an expansion project at its Pine Street location, to be accomplished in three phases. VEDA approved Phase I financing of $413,630 which, in addition to financing provided by People’s United Bank, will help Zero Gravity invest in fermentation tanks and associated infrastructure in order to keep up with customer demand. Originally founded as a brewpub connected to the American Flatbread Restaurant, Zero Gravity now brews a year-round offering of beers sold both at their Pine Street location and through a variety of distributors. Zero Gravity has 15 employees, and expects to increase employment to 22 within three years of the expansion project;
• Global Values, Inc., Barre – VEDA approved partial financing of $240,000 to help Barre granite manufacturer Global Values, Inc. purchase Montpelier Granite Works’ real estate and equipment. Community National Bank is also providing financing for the project. Originally a distributor of high-quality imported granite, Global Values in 2015 expanded into manufacturing, acquiring Houle Brothers Granite in Barre as part of that expansion. GVI now purchases raw blocks of stone, both locally and imported, and manufactures them to completion with control over its production, timing, and margins. Global Values has 53 employees, and expects to increase jobs to 69 within three years of the new expansion project; and
• Wilmington Inn, Wilmington – VEDA approved $243,750 as partial financing toward the purchase of the Wilmington Inn, a three-building lodging property recently inducted into the Tripadvisor Hall of Fame for having received Certificates of Excellence five years in a row. New owners plan to market the inn to outdoor enthusiasts, vacationers, fall foliage visitors and as a venue for Vermont weddings and events. People’s United Bank is also providing financing for the project.
Agricultural loans totaling $2.1 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.
In addition, Energy Financing of $5 million was approved for a number of commercial solar energy installation projects which together are estimated to produce enough renewable electricity to power the equivalent of 1,107 average households, and reduce CO2 emissions by 4,428 tons each year. Approved financings include:
• Kendall Sustainable Infrastructure Fundco - Combined financing of $2.45 million which enabled the purchase of seven turnkey solar projects – two of them 500 kW AC solar arrays in Brattleboro and West Burke, and five 150 kW AC solar arrays in North Clarendon, Albany, Barnet, Thetford and Fairlee;
• Johnson GLC Solar, LLC – Financing of $358,632 for the construction of a group net-metered 150 kW solar array in Johnson. The electricity credits produced by the system will be sold via 20-year Solar Group Net Metering Agreements to the Town of Johnson Elementary School, the Town of Johnson Select Board, and Parker and Stearns; and
• Londonderry Community Solar – $225,000 as partial financing for the purchase of a 150 kW AC solar array on 3.4 acres in Londonderry, the electricity credits from which will be monetized through a power purchase agreement with Brooks House in Brattleboro.
Another $490,000 was approved through the Windham County Economic Development Program, for which VEDA acts as the administrative partner to provide loans for eligible projects that stimulate job creation and strengthen the economic development infrastructure of Windham County. Loans approved are:
• $350,000 in partial financing to help Hermit Thrush Brewery in Brattleboro expand its production of barrel-aged specialty beers. Founded in 2014, and anchored by a downtown Brattleboro brewery and retail location, Hermit Thrush Brewery will purchase new machinery and equipment and expand operations to include a climate-controlled warehouse, canning and distribution facility in Dummerston. VEDA approved an additional $150,000 loan and the Brattleboro Savings and Loan and Town of Brattleboro are also providing financing for the expansion project. The business has six employees now, and expects to increase employment to 22 positions within three years; and
• $140,000 in working capital to enable Cultural Intrigue Limited in Brattleboro to undertake a cutting-edge technology investment project. Operating since 1991, Cultural Intrigue is an internet retailer of unique home décor items with 22 employees. The Town of Brattleboro is also providing financing for the project.
In addition, loans totaling $717,000 were approved through the Authority’s Small Business Loan Program, which assists growing Vermont small businesses that are unable to access adequate sources of conventional financing. VEDA also approved financing of $200,700 through the SBA’s Community Advantage Program, which enables the Authority to secure guarantees on smaller loans.
The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) is Vermont’s economic development finance lender. Created by the Vermont General Assembly in 1974, VEDA’s mission is “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.”
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 inception, VEDA has provided over $2.288 billion in financing assistance to thousands of eligible Vermont entrepreneurs, manufacturers, small businesses, family farms, and agricultural enterprises. VEDA has five offices throughout Vermont – in Montpelier, Burlington, Middlebury, St. Johnsbury and Brattleboro. For more information about VEDA, visit www.veda.org or call 802-828-JOBS.