Leasing Begins in January for French Block Apartments

Photo courtesy of Downstreet Housing and Community Development

By Phil Dodd

The 18 one-bedroom and studio apartments being built in the French Block over Aubuchon Hardware are expected to be ready for leasing in January and should be filled by May, according to Liz Genge, director of property and asset management for Downstreet Housing and Community Development, which is developing the affordable housing project.

Monthly rents will be in the $800 to $875 range, including heat, for the units that are income restricted. Most of the units fall into that category. The rent will be somewhat higher for the few market-rate units. There is no parking associated with the units, except for two handicapped spaces behind the building that will be assigned to tenants. Other tenants will be able to purchase parking permits from the city at reduced rates.

Genge said 30 people have sent in applications for the 18 units, which are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis to those who qualify. That does not mean it is too late to sign up, though, as there are different categories of units depending on income, and not all applications will be approved, she said.

Nine units in the French Block will be available to single tenants with $32,640 or less in income (or two people with an income of $37,320 or less). One unit in the French Block will be available for a single person with an income of $43,500 or less (or two people with an income of $49,750 or less). For tenants, income is generally defined as gross income, Genge said.

Five units will be available for Section 8 federal housing assistance vouchers to single people with an income of $27,200 or less (or two persons with an income of  $31,100 or less) and who are homeless or at high risk of becoming homeless. Three of the units are market rate and will be available, regardless of income. Genge said she has heard, anecdotally, that there is a lot of interest in the market rate units.

Downstreet Housing has recently renovated three of the other apartment buildings it owns in Montpelier (at 15 Baldwin Street, 11 Bailey Avenue, and 37 Barre Street) and is now leasing those units. There is strong interest, and they should be filled by the end of the year, Genge said. To obtain applications for any Downstreet units, and for more information, go to downstreet.org.

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