Brooks House

LOCATION: DOWNTOWN BRATTLEBORO, VT
Cost: $23.6 million
Size: 80,000 sq. ft.
Type: MIXED USE
STATUS: COMPLETED 2014

The historic Brooks House is an 80,000 square foot mixed-use building located in the geographic and historic heart of Brattleboro, Vermont’s downtown.  In April 2011, a five-alarm fire gutted much of the building, destroying the homes of over 80 people and several businesses.

Resurrecting the Brooks House was essential to the health and viability of Brattleboro’s downtown, but it became evident that the existing owner was not prepared to undertake the complex redevelopment and assemble the multi-layered financing package necessary to rehabilitate the structure.  After two years of sitting idle and increasing anxiety among the community, a group of five local citizens—who eventually formed project sponsor Mesabi, LLC—stepped forward, purchased the building, and organized a restoration plan.

The $23.6 million project leveraged all possible sources: historic and new markets tax credits, conventional financing, a community development block grant, town funding, individual investors, owner equity, and support from those near and far.  The key to making this project viable was community support, varied sources of capital, and creative financing.

M&S Development was formed by two members of Mesabi to focus on future redevelopment projects in economically distressed downtowns.