CASTLETON — A Saratoga resident — and soon-to-be part-time Castleton resident received a $96,800 tax credit toward renovations he’s making to Castleton’s old Lake Bomoseen Inn as part $2.8 million tax credits from the state to support $40 million in projects throughout the state.
Engineer Paul Martin said he was just driving through Castleton on Creek Road one day when he saw the inn in forclosure and for sale, and the opportunity to save the old place and renovate it dawned on him.
“I’ve done historic renovation and design, just never for myself,” Martin said.
In 2013, he bought the place for around $113,000, and invested between $15,000 and $20,000 in abatement immediately before completely gutting the property, and slowly but surely bringing it up-to code.
“It’s a major, 100% renovation,” Martin said. “All new plumbing and electric, bringing the place completely up to code — only thing left were the windows.”
But Martin said what he once thought was a big project turned out to be an even bigger one, and to date he’s spent around $580,000 in revitalization to the property, which he hopes to rent out to long-term tenants as apartments with access to the docks on Lake Bomoseen.
The tax credit awards list cited the project’s overall cost to be $749,345.
Enter Jonas Rosenthal, the town’s zoning administrator, who knew there were grants available to help Martin out with the cost of his remaining renovations, including installing a sprinkler system, smoke detectors and general improvements to the building’s facade.
With Rosenthal’s help, Martin was able to submit a last-minute tax credit application mere weeks before the deadline, and was told in August that he would receive a $96,800 tax credit toward his renovations.
“I got really lucky,” Martin said. “I’m sinking money into this place. I’ll have to take that credit, put it on the market, and somehow convert that into money.”
Rosenthal said the credits were available to build center designations, and given Hydeville’s recent designation as a village center in March, Martin seemed like the perfect candidate for a little help getting the building up to code and giving her a new look.
Martin is eligible to receive 25% of credits for facade work, 50% for code improvements, up to $50,000 for sprinkler system and up to $25,000 to bring the electrical systems and building up to code up, Rosenthal said.
“This would be the first tax credit application award for the town of Castleton,” Rosenthal said. “Hopefully, there will be others to come. There are private businessmen looking to improve properties in town. This is hopefully a first step to applications in the future.”
Rosenthal said the inn, which was built in 1903, was vacant for close to eight years, but would bring back seven housing units, a community meeting space and a bar and kitchen area that Martin said he intends to rent out to catering and events.
“Creating more opportunities for people to live and work in Vermont’s downtowns and villages is critical to keeping young Vermonters here and drawing new families and business to Vermont to stay,” Gov. Phil Scott said in a news release. “Without state revitalization programs like tax credits and tax increment financing, recent projects like the Putnam Block in Bennington and the New Avenue House in St. Johnsbury would not be possible. This work to expand growth and economic equity to all 14 counties will continue to be a focus for my administration.”
Martin said he has yet to decide what he’s going to charge for rent, but intends to also install video cameras so tenants can see who is at their door before they answer it.
“I’m sure it will be well-used,” Rosenthal said.