HARDWICK — The Town of Hardwick has been awarded a $900,000 implementation grant from the Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP) for the purpose of developing an $8.6 million agribusiness accelerator and corporate campus.
Commissioner Josh Hanford of the Dept. of Housing and Community Development said that the Community Development Block Grant awarded through VCDP will support the creation of new jobs in the growing agricultural and agritourism economy of the greater Hardwick region.
The Hardwick Yellow Barn Business Accelerator and Corporate Campus, aka the “Yellow Barn,” is expected to strengthen Vermont’s farm-and food-based economy by allowing multiple establishments to grow and expand with other entrepreneurs, develop new products, and improve export to external markets.
The project will consist of a two-story, 40,000 sq. ft. multi-purpose processing facility and adaptive reuse of the historic 3920 sq. ft. yellow barn.
It is already an iconic presence along the Route 15 gateway to downtown Hardwick.
The unique public-private partnership is supported by a mix of state, federal, and private grants and loans, including a $2.1 million loan from the Vermont Economic Development Authority.
Jasper Hill is going to establish a cheese aging facility in the accelerator building, and Cabot Creamery will occupy all of the historic barn to create a retail presence.
Together, these high-profile producers will create a unique cheese destination in Hardwick, leading to the creation of nearly 60 new full-time equivalent jobs in the next three years, and a total impact of 105 plus jobs in the first five years.
The balance of space in the accelerator building is available for small and emerging farm- and food-based businesses, as well as and research and development endeavors.
Tenants interested in the space are strongly recommended to submit a letter of interest now.
Yellow Barn is scheduled to commence construction in the spring of 2020 and will be ready for full occupancy in 2021.