Construction of a new three-story office building planned for 105 State Street in Montpelier will not begin until next spring, according to developer Thom Lauzon.
The new 8,000-square-foot building, to be located at the site of the former Gulf service station across Gov. Davis Avenue from the state’s Pavilion office building, will include a bank on the first floor with a drive-in ATM and pneumatic tube kiosk, plus professional offices on the second and third floors.
The Montpelier Development Review Board had cleared the way for the project on June 15 when it voted 5–2 to issue a zoning permit, but Lauzon had to wait for the decision to be written up and for appeal periods to pass. The permit did not go “hard” until August, he said,
Two factors that led to Lauzon’s decision not to begin construction this fall or winter were the challenges facing the construction industry during the pandemic and the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus, he said.
“Because of the health crisis, the construction industry has been extremely challenged,” said Lauzon, who is also an accountant and the former mayor of Barre. “Building material availability and cost uncertainties have made it extremely difficult to plan with any certainty. At one point this summer, windows were nine to 10 weeks out — they’re usually four. A two-by-four-by-eight has over doubled in price.”
In addition, “the tight window here in Vermont, and the possibility of a second wave, even though we pray every day that this doesn’t happen, creates even more cost and uncertainty,” he said.
Lauzon said contractors in central Vermont are extremely busy right now, another factor in his decision. “While we might have considered accelerating our plans in order to provide them with winter work, that simply isn’t necessary given where they’re at,” he said.
“For all those reasons, we plan on preparing the detailed construction plans this winter and breaking ground in the spring,” Lauzon said.