February 2017 | Business View Magazine

138 139 Preferred vendor n M&S Development www.msdevelopmentllc.com Redevelopment Group LLC, a consortium of local business leaders, institutions - including the Bank of Bennington, Southwestern Vermont Health Care, Bennington College, and Southern Vermont College - as well as some civic-minded investors such as M&S Development - has orga- nized together to transform the block of build- ings at the Four Corners of Bennington into a vibrant, mixed-used downtown space with in-town living, offices, restaurants, and retail. According to Harrington, the rehabilitation proj- ect, which is estimated to cost between $40-50 million, has been talked about for decades, and is “probably the most exciting economic devel- opment thing that’s happened in Bennington in the last twenty to thirty years.” In addition to helping to attract tourists to come to Vermont, Harrington says that another focus of the Bennington Area Chamber of Com- merce is on business development –helping to retrofit older businesses by providing develop- ment tools, insight, and education. “A third func- tion of the Chamber is to connect all the other players,” he adds. “We have a Bennington Coun- ty Industrial Corporation; a Bennington County Regional Commission; the Town of Bennington; and the National Main Street Program.We are in the business of creating an ecosystem where businesses can thrive.” Harrington is extremely optimistic that Ben- nington will find its way in the coming years and points to the town’s many strengths and opportunities. “We have a lot of budding entre- preneurs and we’re very rich in higher educa- tion,” he says. “You’ve got a town with a back- bone. It’s steeped in history and has a great art culture. It’s quintessential Vermont, but what’s unique about it is you can hop right over the border of New York, right over the border of New Hampshire, right over the border of Massa- chusetts.We’re at this unique place.We’ve got a proud past and a vibrant future. And the align- ment of stars is to move forward.” Vermont closely aligns with the future of Vermont, which is green industry,” says Harrington. Another initiative designed to re-invigorate Bennington’s economy is the revitalization of its downtown. And its most im- portant component is the recent purchase of the historic Green- berg Block which includes the former Putnam Hotel, the Old Courthouse and Pennysaver, the Winslow Building, the Oldcastle Theatre, the former H. Green- berg and Son Hardware, and the Mobil Station. The Bennington Bennington, Vermont M S Development & Empowering Community Revitalization