Hardwick, News

Yellow Barn 2.0 Construction Gets Underway

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photo by Vanessa Fournier
A formal groundbreaking was held at the Yellow Barn in Hardwick on August 18, with (left to right) Cassie Polhemus, chief executive officer of the Vermont Economic Development Authority; Lindsay Kurrie, Agency of Commerce and Community Development; Eric Remick, Town of Hardwick selectboard chair; Senator Patrick Leahy; Alison Low, Northeastern Vermont Development Association; Fauna Hurley from Senator Peter Welch’s office; Will Stevens from Senator Bernie Sanders office; and Minty Conant, president of the Northeastern Vermont Development Association.

by Gazette Staff

HARDWICK – After years of planning, permitting, and fundraising, the refurbishment of the Yellow Barn site is underway. The project consists of two structures: the refurbished Yellow Barn building and a new accelerator facility.

According to the Northern Vermont Development Agency (NVDA) website dedicated to the project (nvda.net/yellow_barn/), the full title of the project is the Hardwick Yellow Barn Business Accelerator (HYBBA). The rebuilt Yellow Barn will house retail space for the Cabot Creamery where the creamery’s “will showcase the region’s top food artisans. Active sampling and events will be held there, including regular tastings by local businesses such as Caledonia Spirits and Blake Hill Preserves.

The accelerator will be housed in a new 22,000 square foot building that will have “two anchor tenants: the Center for an Agricultural Economy and Jasper Hill Farm. Jasper Hill will expand its ecommerce fulfillment and consolidate inventory from scattered locations statewide. Space designated to the Center for an Agricultural Economy’s (CAE) farm-to-supply chain services has more than doubled from original plans. Farm Connex, the CAE’s innovative direct shipment service, will expand its capacity from its new headquarters.”

In the Regional Impact section of the Executive Summary of the project, NVDA states that “[c]ollectively, all tenants can commit to 25 full-time equivalent jobs created or saved, more than half of which will be made available to low- and moderate-income individuals.” The project’s operations are expected to “create or save 150 farm jobs by year 5.” In addition, the project summary states that it expects more than 30,000 visitors to downtown Hardwick per year.

The construction budget for the project is $8.3 million, with the largest expenditures dedicated to Accelerator Construction ($3.9 million), Yellow Barn Rehabilitation ($1.88 million), and Site Work ($1.59 million).

The largest sources of funding include the Economic Development Administration ($3 million), the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) and other financing sources ($2.8 million), the Northern Border Regional Commission ($1 million), and the Community Recovery and Revitalization Program ($1 million).

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