Credit union buys former Chittenden Bank building
MIDDLEBURY — After several years of standing idle, the former Chittenden Bank property at One Court Square will soon reopen for business under new ownership.
The Vermont Federal Credit Union on Jan. 23 closed on a deal to buy the former bank property for $850,000. Work crews are now busily gutting the 4,800-square-foot building so that it can be occupied by Vermont Federal employees who are currently operating out of the credit union’s 1,200-square-foot headquarters at nearby 24 Washington St.
Tom Crapo, Vermont Federal’s senior vice president for operations, said the Court Square property acquisition will provide more office and parking space as well as allow the credit union to offer drive-through service.
“We are very excited,” Crapo said. “We as an organization are pleased to be able to expand our services to the community and to be able to stay near our current location and continue to operate in the downtown area.”
The Vermont Federal Credit Union was established 60 years ago and has had a physical presence in Middlebury since 1992. The organization now has nine workers assigned to Middlebury and another two to its Vergennes office on Panton Road, according to Crapo.
It was about six years ago that Chittenden Bank — now known as People’s United Bank — moved out of its Court Square location and into a new, two-story building in Middlebury South Village at 114 South Village Green.
The Court Square property has sat on the market while drawing sporadic interest from prospective buyers intrigued by its prominent location. One area real estate broker said the initial asking price approached $2 million. The Middlebury selectboard five years ago kicked the tires on the property as a potential spot for new municipal offices, but learned the building could not be readily adapted to meet the town’s needs.
Vermont Federal officials have had their eyes on the Court Square property for the past four years and were recently able to negotiate a purchase price that is $115,000 more than its current assessed value of $735,000, according to town records.
Crapo is unsure about the duration of the ongoing renovations, but said the credit union’s new Middlebury headquarters will definitely open later this year. The larger space will “provide opportunities for modest employee expansion in the years ahead,” he said.
Vermont Federal’s Washington Street location will eventually be listed for sale, according to Crapo.
Reporter John Flowers is at email@example.com.