BOOM OR CRUNCH?
NEWPORT CITY – A Burlington developer wants to turn his commercial building on Highland Avenue in Newport City into a residential housing complex.Bob Miller, president and owner of R.E.M., said his firm is talking about turning the former Slalom Building, also known as the Old Hospital, into an apartment building. Miller currently rents to the North Country Supervisory Union. However, the supervisory union has plans to move closer to the high school sometime next year. Miller's building also houses space to other professional services, but he has never been able to fill every space. Miller had been working with a non-profit but the deal fell through.Potential tenants for the apartments are workers from the ever-expanding Jay Peak Resort and the proposed AnCBio and Menck Window factory slated to move to Newport City. Those workers, Miller explained, won’t be able to afford to live at Jay Peak.“It’s pretty much going to be market housing,” said Miller. The project calls for two additions and an underground parking garage. It will have about 80 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. “This isn’t going to be junk,” said Miller.The one bedroom apartment will be about 800 to 900 square feet and the rest will be between 1,200 and 1,400 square feet.Miller hopes to get through the local and state permit process easily and start construction in the spring with a completion date of six to eight months. He already has water and sewer allocations.This will be Miller’s first residential property. Typically, his firm owns commercial buildings. Miller owns two commercial buildings off the Derby Road and recently sold a building on Pleasant Street Extension to its current tenants. He formally owned the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory on Farrant’s Street. Miller has owned property in Newport City for close to 20 years.