Bennington is a historic New England town with roots in manufacturing and a long history of artistic and intellectual activity. Like many communities, Bennington has weathered the consequences of deindustrialization in recent years, including a decline in workforce-age population and diminished economic vitality. In 2015, the Town of Bennington commissioned an area-wide plan to explore strategies for economic renewal. The plan led to a $56 million, multiyear real-estate revitalization project at the historic Putnam Block in downtown Bennington, made possible through partnerships between the Bennington Redevelopment Group, the public sector, and institutional partners.
The Putnam Block was an ambitious proposal: it would be one of the largest single economic development projects in the State of Vermont at the time of its construction. To attract necessary funding from multiple public and private sources—as it turned out, more than 20 in total—the project team needed to demonstrate that the project was physically and financially feasible at every step and that it would meet regulatory requirements.
In 2016, MSK conducted existing conditions and topographic surveys as part of the project feasibility study. We developed an existing conditions plan, which mapped the location of existing utilities, and completed conceptual grading and stormwater management plans for a proposed alternative site design. In addition, we performed quantity takeoffs and cost estimates on the basis of the preferred alternative; provided a feasibility analysis of necessary state and local permits; and conducted a parking lot vacancy study. In 2017, we completed final site design plans for the chosen Putnam Block design. These contributions to the complex effort helped demonstrate that the redevelopment project stood on solid ground.
In 2018, we provided bidding services for construction related to site civil design, and from 2018–19, we provided construction administration services and continued survey support. We also provided significant permitting support for the Putnam Block project. We secured a construction general permit, local permits, a stormwater operational permit for 1.37 existing impervious acres and 1.03 new impervious acres, a state permit for a water and wastewater design flows of almost 11,000 gallons per day, and a FEMA flood elevation certificate.
Though project is still under construction, with two more phases to come, residential tenants have already moved in, and Phase I commercial tenants will soon be open for business.