A downtown development project in Bennington is back on track after Congress preserved crucial funding sources in the tax bill that President Trump signed last week.
The $54 million Putnam Block development relies on new market tax credits and historic tax credits, and both programs were eliminated or reduced in the House version of the tax overhaul.
The tax credit programs allow investors to put money into development projects in low-income neighborhoods, and then receive tax credits on those investments.
Bennington County Regional Commission assistant director Bill Colvin says both programs made their way into the final tax bill.
Colvin says potential investors were scared away by the possibility that Congress would eliminate the programs, and he says the developers are now moving forward to secure the money for the project.
"There was a lot of uncertainty in the markets after the House passed its version of the tax bill, which eliminated two funding programs essential to the Putnam Block funding," Colvin says.
"The markets really froze up, so we had to wait and see what would happen. The good news is the final version preserves all of the programs, so that uncertainty that really held up the project is gone now that everybody knows what they're dealing with."
Bennington Redevelopment Group, a large group of investors and business leaders, is working to redevelop three historic properties and build two new buildings in the center of downtown Bennington.
The project includes a mix of market rate apartments, retail and office spaces.
Bennington College, Southern Vermont College and Southwestern Vermont Healthcare have all signed on to occupy offices in the new buildings.
Colvin says the group has hired Bread Loaf Corp. to lead the construction and that he hopes construction on phase one can start in mid 2018.