CHT Buys Hotel to Create 72 New Affordable Apartments

New Apartments To Be Called “Zephyr Place”

An exciting day! Yesterday, CHT closed on the purchase of TownePlace Suites in Williston and plans to convert the hotel to 72 apartments affordable to people with a mix of incomes. The property was purchased from the Williston Inn Group, Inc. for $13,450,000.

“We are looking forward to adding new affordable apartments to Williston and Chittenden County in this great location. It’s so difficult for so many people to find any available homes, much less those affordable to low-wage workers or those who are unhoused,” said Michael Monte, CEO of Champlain Housing Trust. “We are grateful to the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board for supporting this effort, and for the Legislature and Governor for prioritizing housing.”

The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board provided funds for the purchase of the property, which will be renamed Zephyr Place, with a combination of Federal American Recovery Place Act – State Fiscal Recovery (ARPA-SFR) and State of Vermont general funds appropriated by the Vermont State Legislature.

Thirty-eight of the 72 apartments will be designated for people coming out of homelessness, 26 will be affordable to those earning up to 60% of the region’s median income, or roughly $20 an hour for a single person household. The remaining eight will be affordable to those earning up to 80% of median income (about $26 an hour). Champlain Housing Trust will have an onsite property manager as well as resident services staff to support the new residents.

More than half of the apartments will have rental subsidy tying tenants’ rent to 30% of their income. For those that don’t have direct subsidy, rents for the studio and one-bedroom apartments will range from $850 to $1,050 per month – or about 20% lower than Fair Market Rent for the region. All utilities are included.

Chittenden County’s vacancy rate is sitting at 0.9%, and three out of ten renters in the county pay more than 50% of their income for rent.

“Champlain Housing Trust has been an outstanding leader in helping Vermonters navigate a housing market negatively impacted by the pandemic, during which the cost of rental housing has soared and the number of households experiencing homelessness has risen dramatically. VHCB is proud to invest state and federal funding to help CHT in their effort to expand the supply of permanent housing,” said Gus Seelig, Executive Director of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board.

With the purchase complete, the housing trust will begin renovations and some minor site work, including the addition of a sidewalk along Zephyr Road to Route 2A where there is access to public transportation. The property will be ready for occupancy in the summer of 2022.