Hidden gems found during demolition at Putnam Block redevelopment

 

Bob Stevens conducts a tour of the Putnam Block Redevelopment project highlighting some of the gems hidden within.

 

 

Read more in Vermont Business Magazine: https://vermontbiz.com/news/2019/october/07/hidden-gems-found-during-demolition-putnam-block-redevelopment?utm_source=VBM+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=2051ddf604-ENEWS_2019_10_07&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b5e56b36a4-2051ddf604-286693409

 

Putnam Block Update ~ Financing Deal Done & Construction Begins

HOLLY PELCZYNSKI – BENNINGTON BANNER Robert Stevens, Owner of M&S Construction offers congratulatory remarks at the celebration of the closing of the Putnam deal.

S&A is happy to congratulate M&S Development, all the organizations & community members responsible for reaching a huge milestone to revitalize downtown Bennington, VT.

For more information about the Putnam Block Redevelopment project visit  :

https://www.reformer.com/stories/putnam-block-financing-deal-done-construction-begins,577216

VIM – Bennington’s Putnam Block, Revitalizing the Past for the Future

Working to revitalize 4 acres and 3 historic buildings in a downtown National Historic District is an extraordinary undertaking. Learn more about this project and how S&A, M&S Development and a dedicated group of organizations are transforming a community by reading, “Bennington’s Putnam Block, Revitalizing the Past for the Future” in Vermont Innovator Magazine – Spring 2019 issue.
 

Snow Block Project Update

Snow Block Project Update – It’s underway and there’s a lot happening! S&A Engineers, Serenity Wolf, PE and Andrea Ameden, EI met with ReArch, construction manager and site contractor, Bernie LaRock & Son for water testing of the main and sprinkler lines. In addition, footings and foundation walls were being formed by Valley Concrete.

For more information about this project visit: https://www.stevens-as soc.com/portfolio/snow-block/

Great River Terrace – Grand Opening

Congratulations to Windham Windsor Housing Trust and everyone involved in the Great River Terrace ‘neighborhood’ project located in north Brattleboro. S&A is grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the first permanent supportive housing project in southern Vermont.

To learn more about WWHT and this project visit: http://www.w-wht.org/ and https://www.reformer.com/…/great-river-grand-opening-set-fo…

 

 

Resistance Drills & Structural Assessments

Ben Harwood, EI uses a resistance drill as part of a structural assessment for the historic Ashfield, MA Town Hall Steeple project. S&A is pleased to offer clients this service when conducting structural assessments for historic and non-historic buildings with wood frame construction. Resistance drills, more commonly used by the forestry industry, are becoming a useful and reliable tool for structural engineers to determine the condition of historic, heavy timber and wood frame buildings.

Don’t Look Down!

Thankfully S&A professional engineer, Ham Hodgman, PE is not afraid of heights. Read more about this great project in the Times Argus.

Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Staff Photo Hamilton Hodgman, an architect with Stevens & Associates in Brattleboro, assesses the windows Wednesday of a state-owned building in Montpelier. Many of the building’s windows are nearly…
TIMESARGUS.COM

An Exciting New Project At New England Youth Theatre

S&A is grateful for another opportunity to work with great people on a meaningful downtown community project for the New England Youth Theatre.

To read more visit: https://lnkd.in/duvgFEY

L to R: Taylor Shulda – S&A landscape designer, Stephen Sterns – NEYT founder, Susan McMahan – associate director at Windham Regional Commission, Ham Hodgman – S&A civil engineer, Naomi Shafer – NEYT arts campus project manager, and Cory Frehsee, S&A principal and civil engineer.

 

Congratulations Bradley House for your Recent Groundbreaking Celebration

Stevens & Associates congratulates the Bradley House residents and staff for their recent groundbreaking celebration on May 1, 2017.  Attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony was S&A Architect and Project Manager, Jonathan Saccoccio. Stevens & Associates is providing design & engineering services for the building expansion and grounds beautification project of this residential care facility built in the 1860s and located in Brattleboro, VT.

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt, supports redevelopment project in Bennington, VT.

Stevens & Associates is working together with M&S Development and the Bennington Redevelopment Group to provide design services for the Putnum Block project.  The Bennington Banner reported last week that U.S. Rep. Peter Welch supports this major downtown redevelopment effort.  Bob Stevens, President of S&A and Principal for M&S Development offers insights within the article.

http://www.benningtonbanner.com/localnews/ci_30510986/u-s-rep-tours-putnam-block-pledges-support

 

S&A Welcomes Bob Crego, Project Manager To Their Team

Stevens & Associates welcomes Bob Crego to their team as a Project Manager for Development. Crego brings with him over 25 years of professional experience in the community development field, largely as an affordable housing developer.  In addition to his role as the founding director for Valley Cares, Inc. in Townshend, VT, Crego’s past experience includes organizational and project development, financing management, grant writing, and business planning.  He is currently working on several projects in development, including the redevelopment of a four-acre block of land and historic building at the Four Corners in Bennington.   Known as the Putnam Block Redevelopment, the project would consist of mixed use downtown space with offices, retail, and apartments.

Governor Shumlin Announces Funding for the Bradley House Project

Congratulations Bradley House!
S&A is honored to provide design & engineering services for your building expansion and grounds beautification project.  As reported in the Brattleboro Reformer: Governor Shumlin in town to announce funding from Community Development Program Bradley House: Senior living facility will get $450,000 for renovations and expansion.

Stevens & Associates and Hilltop Montessori School Wins Award for the Hilltop Arts Barn

S&A and the Hilltop Montessori School are proud to accept a 2016 Merit Award for Engineering Excellence from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Vermont for the Hilltop Arts Barn project. This complex design included an innovative structural use of premanufactured insulated panels to support high walls and large roof loads.  “Thank You” to everyone who helped to create this beautiful multipurpose space.

 

Stevens & Associates Volunteers at the Saint Michael School

A team of professional engineers from Stevens & Associates, P.C. had the pleasure of volunteering at the Saint Michael School working with 8th and 9th grade students to provide a project-based educational program introducing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  Read more about this story in the Brattleboro Reformer.
http://www.reformer.com/business/ci_29678208/brattleboros-stevens–associates-visits-saint-michael-school

Hilltop Arts Barn

Stevens & Associates’ latest project, an arts barn at Hilltop Montessori School, is complete.

The school approached us wanting arts space, a gymnasium, and a multi-use function space. There was an old barn on the property that was a candidate for these needs. After looking at various options, the design team and client decided to save about half the barn with a gut renovation and add on to increase the square footage.

The result is a building that saves the best features of the historic barn and offers highly functional space for the school. Barn doors pay homage to the original use of the building, and clean, bright finishes inside connect the space with the rest of the school.

Classrooms are in use for music and art classes, and the gymnasium will be a great addition for play time in the winter months. A function space (and theater) just off the gymnasium takes advantage of the spectacular views on the site, and opens onto the gymasium for bigger events.

 

Historic Preservation is Green

While the greenest building may be the one that’s never built, the next greenest may be the historic one that’s being rehabbed.

A couple of years ago, the National Trust for Historic Preservation released a study quantifying the environmental benefits of rehabilitating old buildings instead of construction new ones. The study concluded that it can take “between 10 and 80 years for a new, energy-efficient building to overcome, through more efficient operations, the negative climate change impacts that were created during the construction process.”

Renovation of historic buildings has environmental costs, too—the materials used in renovation take energy to make and put in the building. But the environmental costs are 4%-46% less than those incurred by new construction.

The study offers some caveats. Renovation needs to improve the energy performance of the building to pay off, and you need to be careful about the types of materials you use. Turning warehouses into apartments, for example, requires many new materials and may not offer any environmental benefits over building new.

Making an older building meet the demands of the twenty-first century isn’t a simple process. In the Brooks House, for example, we had to add framing to increase the available space for insulation. Many of the windows were replaced, and others (the ones that were especially important historically) were rehabilitated to make them more energy efficient.

Many of the features of historic buildings are inherently energy-efficient. Large, operable windows allow daylighting and ventilation, meaning you can turn lights and air-conditioning off more often. Massive brick walls take a long time to heat up and cool down, which means that interior spaces stay comfortable longer without air conditioning or heat.

Many historic buildings are located in neighborhoods and downtowns that were built before the automobile was invented. Historic buildings make up Main Street, the icon of mixed-use walkability in this country. Kaid Benfield noted recently that “Main Street is a terrific model worth preserving and emulating…It has a human scale, neither skyscrapers nor sprawl, but something in between.”

 

 

How Do You Decide to Save a Building?

Next month, we are going to a walk-through of 14 Mill Street in Bellows Falls. The Town is looking for someone to redevelop two buildings on the site, which is down a back street downtown. A developer would enter into a partnership with the Town, which would assist with grant funding and redevelopment, then sell the property to the developer for $1. So what does a developer consider in a situation like this? How do you decide to save a building?

First you look at the building itself. Will the building and its spaces work for your proposed use? Does it have enough parking or access for your needs? What are the floor-to-floor heights? How big are the rooms? What condition is the building in? Is it structurally sound?

The 14 Mill Street property has some lovely details, including brick work and large windows. Most of it is likely still sound, structurally, but some has deteriorated and is no longer safe. The building would not likely be suitable for retail purposes, since it has no street presence on the main square of the village, and vehicular access is a little tricky.

Next you think about the financing for the project. What sources of funding are available to you? Does the project qualify for tax credits? What about grants and loans? What can you count on for project “hard” costs (materials and construction expenses)? What about “soft” costs (designers, lawyers, etc.)?  What is the market like in the area, and what can you get for rents?

Although you would need a lot more detail on the building to know for sure, from first glance, we can tell that 14 Mill Street is in a New Market Tax Credit zone and is likely eligible for Historic Preservation Tax Credits. It may also be eligible for a Community Block Development Grant for Slums and Blight Development. You can assume somewhere around $200/ft2 for hard costs and another $50 or $60/ft2 for soft costs. We have a rough idea of square footage from previous work on the building, which means that we can guess that you would need to get $25/ft2 in rent to support those redevelopment costs if you didn’t have subsidies and tax credits. To make the project viable, you need to get the rental figure down to what the market will bear, somewhere in the $10-$12/ft2 range.

(Let’s take a minute here to remind ourselves that this is ALL guesswork, and that a full feasibility study would be required to make any of these numbers even close to accurate. We’d also like to note that we will be taking a deeper look at each of these funding sources in the future.)

So what’s the next step? A developer would go back after a walk-through and try to firm up the numbers above and analyze the building and its location. A call to an architect might be in order (that’s why we go to the walk-through) to talk about what’s needed for the building, and a rough budget for the project needs to be developed. Then the developer would submit a proposal, with budgets and maybe even rough design sketches, to the Town.  If they are awarded the building, they move on to a more complete look at the feasibility of the project, called a “feasibility study.” And then to design and construction.

 

 

 

 

Adaptive Reuse for Landscapes: The High Line

We most often think of adaptive reuse in terms of restoration of buildings, but the term applies to landscapes and other structures, too. The High Line in Manhattan repurposed an elevated rail track along 10th Avenue to make a park and walking trail through downtown.The project was completed in phases; the first segment opened in 2009, the second in 2011. A third section has been proposed. Before the High Line could be planted, the railroad tracks and support structures had to be renovated, their lead paint removed, and their aging structures properly bolstered.The landscape, designed by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, echoes the overgrown railroad tracks one can spot throughout the country. Wildflowers and grasses are interspersed between planks and walking paths. Trees provide color and shade, as well as bird habitat, both needed in urban environments.The width of the walking paths varies along the High Line, narrow walking areas opening onto wider gathering and resting spots. In this way, it is much like an urban street that opens onto a plaza, where you might be able to eat at an outdoor café. (Indeed, there are food vendors along the path.)Unlike other parks in New York, High Line does not try to separate visitors from the city, or necessarily provide a respite. It is in the heart of the city (it even runs right through some buildings), and allows access to urban sights and sounds.The High Line presents one answer for what to do with our country’s (and our region’s) aging infrastructure.

Traveling the back roads of northern New England, it’s not uncommon to find long-abandoned carriage roads taken over by the wildflowers and forests. What if we did that intentionally on the unused railroad track the runs so often through the back sides of our towns and villages?

In Brattleboro, we are faced with aging bridges into New Hampshire. Among the many discussions about those bridges and what should happen to them, perhaps we should consider using a High Line approach on the old bridges once they are replaced, allowing better pedestrian access to Mount Wantastiquet and the Connecticut River.

(Photos are from the Friends of the High Line site.)