ST. JOHNSBURY — For nearly 20 months multi-million dollar rehabilitation work has been happening at the New Avenue building at the corner of Eastern Avenue and Railroad Street, and project officials are about ready to show off the fruits of that labor.
“Come take a look at the newly-completed New Avenue Apartments as we restore light and life to this iconic building in the heart of St. Johnsbury,” noted RuralEdge, announcing “New Avenue Community Tours.”
Evernorth and RuralEdge, partners in the residential portion of the four-story building, are providing a chance for people to tour the upper floors of the building on Thursday. It will be a day after Bread Loaf Corporation designates their rehabilitation and construction work “substantially” complete and two days before the first tenants move in.
The partners said the window of opportunity for the general public to have a look inside is tight, but they wanted to give interested members of the public the opportunity to see what’s been done to completely overhaul the space, creating 40 new apartments.
The touring time is from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday. No advance registration is necessary; people can show up any time between 4 and 6. Everyone entering the building must be masked and social distancing will be expected. Officials will invite people inside in groups of between five and 10, said Robert Little, of RuralEdge.
For the most part, he said, the tours will be self-guided with Evernorth and RuralEdge representatives stationed at various points in the building to direct people. People arriving to take a tour should dress appropriately to stand outside while waiting their turn to go inside.
The tour will only include the upper three floors as the first floor is commercial space, leased by businesses and organizations through New Depot Square Commercial Properties, LLC. The upper three floors are accessed by a new, large elevator. The upper floors feature six studio apartments, three two-bedroom apartments and 34 one-bedroom apartments.
On floors two and three, the “turret” portion of the building, which is an architectural feature that ties the Eastern Avenue side of the building together with the Railroad Street portion of the building, features common space for the tenants to gather. The fourth-floor turret space is part of an apartment. The rounded space is full of windows offering a panoramic bird’s eye view of downtown.
The interior surfaces are painted with a light, neutral color to more likely match the furniture that will be brought in by tenants and to make the rooms brighter. The bedrooms are carpeted and the living space and kitchen floor are vinyl plank flooring.
Summit Properties is managing the residential space and will be ushering in the first tenants on Saturday, Nov. 20. Summit owns and operates the St. Johnsbury House. Next Saturday will mark the first time someone has inhabited the building since Jan. 3, 2020. Becki Gerrow, a four-year tenant of what was then known as Depot Square Apartments, moved out that day.
The renamed New Avenue is in recognition of the building’s original name “New Avenue Hotel.” The building was constructed in 1897. It opened in January 1898. It replaced the original Avenue House that was destroyed by fire on Jan. 26, 1896.