Developers of affordable housing, O’Brien Brothers, named Citizens of the Year

By: Mia Watson

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce recently named Leo O’Brien Jr. and Daniel J. O’Brien, founder of O’Brien Brothers real estate development, as the 2018 Citizens of the Year. Among their many other accomplishments, the brothers have a long history of investment in affordable housing in Vermont.

In the late 1970's, O’Brien Brothers was one of the first real estate developers to participate in the Section 8 program offered by the federal government through VHFA. At that time, the program was new, complicated, and considered risky by many. Country Park was one of the first projects built by the company with VHFA as a partner.  The South Burlington affordable apartment complex continues to serve very low income seniors today. The O’Brien brothers are responsible for much of the Burlington area’s affordable rental housing stock. 

As the company more recently shifted some of their development interest to workforce housing and decided to sell some of their affordable properties, they worked very closely with VHFA to responsibly transition those properties to owners to ensure long term affordability and protection of the residents who lived there.

VHFA Executive Director Sarah Carpenter remarked, “I have worked with Leo and Dan for over 40 years and know what solid and caring business people they are and how committed they are to the Chittenden County community and to the State of Vermont. They have provided outstanding service to the community and continue to work on that through the values they have set for their family business.”

Photo from O'Brien Brothers