by Andrew Martin
A large housing development could potentially be coming to Morrisville. The town is currently being considered as the site of one of the Dreamlife Retirement Resorts that are scheduled to be built around Vermont in the coming years by the EB-5 Visa Program.
According to Morristown Zoning Administrator Todd Thomas, if Morristown is selected for the project then a new building containing 160 units of luxury age-restricted housing would be built in town. Early plans call for 100 of the units to be independent living while the remaining 60 will be assisted living. However, Thomas stressed that while representatives from the project are interested in the area near the Oxbow, at this point, Morristown is only one of several Vermont towns being considered for phase 1 of the EB-5 project and that no landowner in town has yet been officially approached about selling land for the project,
The EB-5 project calls for a total of 10 Dreamlife Retirement Resorts to be built in several phases around Vermont. According to the official web site for the Dreamlife Retirement Resort project, each separate building is estimated to cost roughly $24,000,000. Funding for the project will come from the EB-5 Visa Program, which seeks out foreign investors for such projects in America.
The rural nature of Vermont means that any foreign investor need only invest $500,000 in the project and in return that investor and his or her family receives their Green Cards. According to the project site, an estimated 320 Green Cards are projected to be awarded as a result of the project. The EB-5 Visa Program was one of the major funding sources behind the recent work at Jay Peak Resort in northern Vermont.
According to Thomas, four sites have been state approved as part of Phase 1 of the Dreamlife Retirement Resorts project. Along with Morristown, other municipalities in the running for the new housing units include Newport, Rutland, and several others. Phase 2 of the project would involve other towns being picked for new developments, but that phase has not yet received official state approval.
“…I think we will know if we are part of phase 1 within three months or so given their projected rate of signing investors…” explained Thomas with regards to a timeline moving forward for the project, “Of course, if they (EB-5) are slower to sign investors… that timeline could get pushed back.” He went on to explain that one of the upcoming steps could be selling Morrisville as one of the final selections for the project.
According to the Dreamlife website, the choice to make the new residential complexes senior housing was reached due to a number of factors. Among those reasons is the fact that over the coming decades senior residences are projected to be a growth industry. The building of the complexes will also create a number of jobs, since in addition to those employees providing care for the residents, the complexes could have underground parking, a health spa, hair salons, banking services, a convenience store, several dining options, and an in-house daycare center for the children of employees.