Gateway projects involve varying degrees of difficulty

Consultants find Foundry St. renovation could take up to 10 years

By Tom Benton

Staff Writer

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SWANTON — Two of the three properties identified for renovation as part of Swanton’s northern gateway project could be redeveloped in just two to three years for less than $200,000 each, according to a report from consultants on the project.

A third property, on Foundry Street, could take up to a decade.

The report by Fairweather Consulting and Stone Environmental was prepared for Swanton through the Northwest Regional Planning Commission (NRPC)’s Northwest Region Brownfields Program.

The Sites

One goal of the so-called “northern gateway project” is to make something out of those properties. The South River Street property used to be the Riviera Hotel. The Depot Street property has mainly been used as a place to put campaign signs during election seasons, and the Foundry Street site is the former site of Smitty’s Alternator.

The South River Street property is a three-and-a-half-story building on a little more than a half-acre. Fairweather and Stone said in the report that their concern is that as the building degrades, the soil around the building could be affected by lead paint or other hazardous building materials.

The Depot Street property, also known as the H. N. Moreau building, consists of two stories on less than a quarter-acre. There are apartments on its second floor; nothing on its first.

In the past, the building was used for light manufacturing and retail outlets like a grocery store and a butcher’s shop, according to the report. There could be hazardous building materials, like with the South River Street property, the report says, and there is also the possibility of contamination from a time when the building was used for automotive service.

There are more potential problems with the Foundry Street property. The 15,500-square-foot building overlooking the Missisquoi River is currently used for auto repair and storage, but in the past, it’s been used for many kinds of manufacturing, including ammunition, stone processing and as a foundry. The building actually exploded while the Robin Hood Powder Company used it for ammunition in September 1905.

For more on the planning for the gateway, pick up a copy of Monday’s Messenger or subscribe to our digital edition.