Tiny Tuesday: Increasing the Housing Supply

Bayberry Commons is a new housing development in Burlington, Vermont on a 25-acre site that once housed a cement plant. The first building to be occupied is a 22-unit apartment building that looks like a row of colorful townhouses, à la San Francisco’s Painted Ladies. I like the trompe l’oeil effect of the façade, the way columns carve out useable outdoor spaces, and the pedestrian-first landscaping. But I like even more how the project helps with the city’s housing shortage.

According to a Seven Days article about the development, only once in the last 10 years have vacancy rates in Burlington exceeded 2%. The cost of rent is increasing due to lack of supply, as I wrote about last month. Burlington requires 15% of all new units to be “inclusionary”, or rate-restricted to qualify as affordable housing, and Bayberry Commons is no exception. But the biggest triumph is the sheer number of units this development will add to the market. When completed in 2018, the complex will have 232 apartments – and this in a city of 40,000.

The land is right on the Winooski River, a mile from the University of Vermont campus and a short bike ride from downtown. Apartments available now range from 800 to 1136 square feet with rents between $1500 and $2150.

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