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Not-for-Profit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006
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The former Vermont State Police barracks on Route 9 in West Brattleboro.


State looks to unload old Brattleboro barracks

BRATTLEBORO—As commercial properties go, the former Vermont State Police Brattleboro barracks is modestly proportioned: The one-story building sits on less than an acre of land.

But state officials are hoping the property’s location — on busy Route 9, at the western gateway to Brattleboro — will help them find a buyer.

Eight months after the barracks closed as part of a state police consolidation in Windham County, the state is marketing the property. And officials haven’t set a minimum asking price.

“From our point of view, if we get what we consider to be a reasonable bid ... we’ll entertain it,” said Allen Palmer, a property-management specialist with the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services.

The state police last year opened a $6.7 million, 16,000-square-foot barracks in Westminster. It now serves as a central home for troopers who cover Windham County as well as southern Windsor County and a small piece of Bennington County.

Those troopers formerly had been stationed in Brattleboro and Rockingham. Both of those barracks, police administrators said, were outdated, cramped, and inadequate for modern police work.

The former Rockingham barracks still is owned by the state, according to town records.

So is the Brattleboro barracks, but officials are looking to change that.

“We’ve looked at other [state] uses for it, and we’ve talked to other agencies. Frankly, it’s just too far outside of the middle of town,” Palmer said, noting that other state offices are clustered in or near downtown Brattleboro.

The state tried to sell the property at 464 Marlboro Road last fall, “but there were no takers,” Palmer said. Preliminary interest shown by prospective buyers seemed to evaporate by the time of a mandatory walk-through, he added.

Palmer now is the point person for a new effort to find a buyer. The Department of Buildings and General Services has issued a detailed brochure and is asking for proposals by 2 p.m. April 20.

More information is available at the department’s website — bgs.vermont.gov/property-management/sale — or by contacting Palmer at allen.palmer@vermont.gov.

The former barracks, which dates to 1970, offers 2,736 square feet of space with about 2,000 square feet of storage in the basement. It is situated on either .67 acres or .41 acres of land; the discrepancy is due to a difference between the deed description and town records.

Palmer focuses more on the address: The barracks is in a heavily traveled east-west corridor, and is located across the road from the Chelsea Royal Diner.

“It’s a good location,” Palmer said. “It’s a pretty solid building.”

An appraisal ordered by the state said the barracks is “essentially an office building, which is considered to be the highest and best use.”

The district is zoned rural commercial and features a mix of commercial and residential properties. State documents say there’s room for parking about 15 cars, and there are no “obvious” environmental issues — though no formal assessment has been performed.

“It’s going to take some imagination and probably some sweat equity,” Palmer said of the barracks’ redevelopment. “Or somebody might want to go in there and put a new building on it.”

According to the Brattleboro grand list, the town’s assessed value for the property is $391,750. But the property currently is tax-exempt due to state ownership.

The 2014 appraisal commissioned by the state estimated the property’s market value at $215,000.

“It is not uncommon with properties that are exempt to be assessed at values that have little relation to their actual market value,” the state’s appraiser wrote. “We feel that this is the case with the subject property.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #402 (Wednesday, April 5, 2017).

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