Those walking near, and working inside, the Cherry Street office spaces of the Burlington Town Center recently may have noticed the weird plastic-y material swathing the building's exterior.
According to Matthew Chabot, general manager of BTC, that's a mostly blank plastic scrim that, come October
, will bear a yet-to-be-determined "healthy lifestyle" image above L.L. Bean's new store in the downtown mall — the company's first location in Vermont.
"We do anticipate that L.L. Bean will be putting up a lifestyle image on the façade of the Cherry Street building," Chabot confirms, though he won't comment on the specifics.
Several graphic options are being discussed with the "Bean Team," he says, and the image won't be complete until late September or early October, when the outdoor retailer is scheduled to open.
"We’re working closely with their marketing department to make sure it reflects the healthy lifestyle consistent with what we have here in Vermont," Chabot says.
Building-size signage is pretty much unprecedented in downtown Burlington, but the proposal for the scrim was accepted "immediately" by the city's Department of Planning and Zoning, according to Chabot.
"There was not a significant amount of negotiation," he says. "It wasn’t anything that was in violation of Burlington's signing ordinance."
Whatever the final graphic is, it won't contain any text or marketing language that directly associates it with L.L. Bean. But, as it will hover above the entrance to the company's store, directly over an awning and a large sign bearing its name, the affiliation should be fairly obvious. Chabot says the exact number of windows that will be covered by the scrim has also not been finalized.
"Quite frankly, we’ve had a lot more conversation about the height of the L.L. Bean sign above the awning than about the scrim," Chabot notes, citing Burlington's 14-foot maximum.
The temporary scrim was put in place so that workers in the offices inside — employees of the HowardCenter and Maximus — can get an idea of what it'll be like once the real thing is installed. The material is see-through from the inside and designed to withstand a cold winter, Chabot says.
"It’s similar to a bus wrap," he explains. "Looking from the inside out it’s transparent, but from the outside you get a strong visual."
L.L. Bean's arrival on Cherry Street is part of a long-term push to improve that corridor down to the waterfront, city officials have said. "We do feel [the image will be] an improved façade from what we’ve all been looking at for the past number of years," Chabot says.