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Development

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

UVM to Sell 44 Acres of Prime, Undeveloped Land in South Burlington

Posted By on Wed, Aug 2, 2017 at 5:09 PM

A view of the Martin Tract - UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT
  • University of Vermont
  • A view of the Martin Tract
The University of Vermont wants to sell off 44 acres of prime real estate it owns in South Burlington — to earn some revenue and to enable housing to be built on the property.

Developers have until August 18 to respond to a request for proposals that UVM issued June 20. The land is south of Interstate 189, near the intersection of Spear and Swift streets.

The solicitation seeks a buyer "with the intention of developing housing that will be made available to the community."

The undeveloped parcels are about about 1.5 miles from the campus, near the East Woods natural area.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

State Rejects Initial Application for Irasburg and Lowell Wind Project

Posted By on Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 6:58 PM

A sign in Irasburg in December 2015 - FILE: IRASBURG RIDGELINE ALLIANCE
  • File: irasburg ridgeline alliance
  • A sign in Irasburg in December 2015
State regulators have dealt a blow to a proposed wind energy project on Kidder Hill in Irasburg and Lowell.

The Public Utility Commission issued a four-page ruling on Monday saying the application for the project, which was filed in June after years of debate, is incomplete and missing crucial information. The project calls for two turbines capable of powering 2,000 homes.

But the commission said central information, including specific locations of the turbines and an access road, an assessment of natural resources in the area, and whether blasting will occur, is missing.

The commission said it considers the application to have never been filed, forcing the project's backer, AllEarth Renewables CEO David Blittersdorf, to begin the process again.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Former Burlington Bottle Redemption Center to Become Recording Studio

Posted By on Wed, Jul 19, 2017 at 6:45 PM

The former Burlington Beverage Center will become a recording studio. - MOLLY WALSH
  • Molly Walsh
  • The former Burlington Beverage Center will become a recording studio.
The sound of bass, drums and guitar will ring out in a space where bottles and cans once rattled and crashed when Tank Recording Studio moves into the now-closed Burlington Beverage Center on North Winooski Avenue.

Development company Redstone bought the triangle-shaped lot and ramshackle, one-story building in the Old North End last year. The Burlington Development Review Board on July 5 green-lighted soundproofing, new siding and new storefront doors — among other changes — at the former convenience store and bottle-redemption facility once a popular spot for "canners" who would bring around carts full of returnables.

"Everything is looking good and we're hopeful that it's going to be a cool element of creativity in the Old North End where Burlington-based bands and bands from other parts of the country can lay down tracks and make great music," said Redstone managing partner Erik Hoekstra.
The Burlington Beverage building - MOLLY WALSH
  • Molly Walsh
  • The Burlington Beverage building
Tank's owners did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment.

According to Hoekstra, Tank is leasing the 3,200-square-foot space at 208-212 North Winooski and moving out of its space just down the road at 274 North Winooski.

The flies and sticky floors at the former redemption center will be a thing of the past.

"We are renovating and retrofitting the existing building. We are not tearing that building down, we are not starting all over," Hoekstra said. "We are working with what's there and trying to get rid of the sticky fly situation and breathe some new life into the building."

The Burlington Beverage Center closed last September after 38 years in operation. The closing forced many low-income neighborhood residents who collect returnables for income to find another redemption center — in some cases walking five miles to get there.

The zoning application indicated that up to six employees will work at the new studio, which anticipates maximum hours of 8 a.m. to 2 p.m, seven days a week.

The studio will help enliven an already vibrant corridor of shops, restaurants and residential buildings along the North Winooski corridor, according to the Redstone application to the DRB.

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Burlington Business Owner Buys Blodgett Oven Property

Posted By on Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 3:00 AM

A Blodgett employee works in the assembly line - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • A Blodgett employee works in the assembly line
The Blodgett Oven plant was abuzz with a racket of metal and a flurry of movement Friday morning. Machines clanked and groaned, a forklift beeped as it navigated crates of steel and equipment, and the sound of the radio rang out above it all.

Not for long: After 72 years at the site — and 169 in Burlington — the facility will go quiet next year, making way for new owners who plan to transform the old manufacturing space. Blodgett Oven is moving after the company purchased a 180,000-square-foot facility in Essex from Miller Realty.

Now, Burlington business owner Russ Scully has bought the three-building, 16-acre property along the waterfront in Burlington's South End. The two parties closed the deal on June 23, according to Erica Havers, vice president and controller of Blodgett. Scully paid $14.3 million for the property, which is assessed at just over $4.1 million, according to city documents.

Scully has been tightlipped about his plans for the property, but he — along with his wife, Roxanne — already have a variety of water-related businesses in Burlington; now they also have some waterfront.

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Construction to Begin After Sides Settle Burlington Town Center Legal Disputes

Posted By on Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 6:21 PM

Rendering of Burlington Town Center as seen from Cherry and St. Paul streets - COURTESY OF PKSB ARCHITECTS
  • Courtesy of PKSB Architects
  • Rendering of Burlington Town Center as seen from Cherry and St. Paul streets
Developer Don Sinex and an opposition group of city residents reached a settlement agreement Wednesday that will allow redevelopment of the Burlington Town Center to proceed.

The agreement requires Sinex to include an additional 200 spaces of parking in the basement of the development, which includes buildings of up to 14 stories. Sinex also agreed, in phase one of the project, to not sign a master lease to provide housing for Champlain College or other university students, according to a joint press release issued by both parties.

It also stipulates that any future development of Sinex-owned property at the Burlington Town Center site would not reach more than 10 stories.

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Blodgett Oven to Leave Its Prime Lakefront Property in Burlington

Posted By on Mon, Jul 3, 2017 at 12:46 PM

Blodgett Oven's current building on Lakeside Avenue - MATTHEW ROY
  • Matthew Roy
  • Blodgett Oven's current building on Lakeside Avenue
Blodgett Oven will move to Essex after 169 years in Burlington — and a group of investors has purchased its sprawling industrial complex on the shore of Lake Champlain in the Lakeside neighborhood.

The future of the coveted Lakeside Avenue property, with shoreline and expansive views of the Adirondacks across the lake, has been the subject of speculation for years. Investors using the name Lakeside Ovens LLC purchased it on June 23. The group paid $14.3 million — well above the grand list value of $4.1 million.

Matt Daly, the Burlington attorney representing the buyers, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday.

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Burlington Bike Path Construction to Begin as Summer Season Starts

Posted By on Fri, Jun 16, 2017 at 5:45 PM

The second stage of construction - COURTESY: BURLINGTON PARKS, RECREATION AND WATERFRONT DEPARTMENT
  • Courtesy: Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Department
  • The second stage of construction
More construction is expected to begin Monday on the Burlington Bike Path as the city launches a six-month project that will detour cyclists to North Avenue during the height of tourist season.

The phase two rehabilitation will repave a 3.3-mile section between the North Beach Campground and the Winooski River, where a bridge connects Burlington's New North End to Colchester. The first phase, from the waterfront to the North Beach Campground, was completed this spring.

Cycling advocacy organization Local Motion is concerned about the work's impact on tourism and cyclist safety during the high summer season, according to executive director Jason Van Driesche — though the group supports the upgrade.

"For most people, there's no good time to do a project like this," acknowledged project manager Jon Adams-Kollitz of the Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Department. The long-term benefits are worth it, he said. "All we can do is ask for forgiveness in terms of the inconvenience."

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Environmental Groups Raise Cash to Purchase Exit 4 Land

Posted By on Mon, Jun 12, 2017 at 6:17 PM

Brian Shupe of the Vermont Natural Resources Council and Tim Storrow of the Castanea Foundation - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • Brian Shupe of the Vermont Natural Resources Council and Tim Storrow of the Castanea Foundation
After a years-long battle between conservationists and a Connecticut developer, the parcel along the Exit 4 interchange in Randolph will be conserved. On Monday, environmental nonprofits and a local citizens group announced that they met their fundraising goal of $1 million — the cash needed to buy the final 22.5-acre tract along Interstate 89 from developer Jesse "Sam" Sammis.

The Conservation Law Foundation, the Vermont Natural Resources Council, the Preservation Trust of Vermont and local activists Exit 4 Open Space spent the last two months furiously making phone calls and soliciting donors to meet the June 15 deadline that Sammis set.

Paul Bruhn, executive director of the Preservation Trust of Vermont, dubbed it an "amazing and miraculous" effort.

The transaction will be the last nail in the coffin of Sammis' nearly decade-long effort to build a multiuse development on the land. The 172-acre tract was to host a welcome center, a rest stop, a 180-room hotel and conference center, as well as 274 homes, a fitness center, and light industrial space.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Sinex to Proceed With BTC Mall Redevelopment After Stay Denied

Posted By on Mon, May 22, 2017 at 9:22 PM

Don Sinex speaks at a press conference in December 2016. - FILE: KATIE JICKLING
  • File: Katie Jickling
  • Don Sinex speaks at a press conference in December 2016.
A judge from the environmental division of the Vermont Superior Court has cleared another obstacle in the effort to redevelop the Burlington Town Center. On Monday, Judge Thomas Walsh denied a request to delay construction by a group that opposes the project.

With the ruling, developer Don Sinex plans to move ahead with the project and begin construction in midsummer, according to spokesperson Liz Miller.

"I am pleased with this decision denying a stay; it is a good step forward for the Burlington Town Center redevelopment," Sinex said in a statement. "Rather than fight, we wish [the opponents] would join with us and the many Burlington residents who already support this project."

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Burlington's Pine Street Deli Closes Its Doors

Posted By on Wed, May 10, 2017 at 5:50 PM

MIke Alvanos - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • MIke Alvanos
The Pine Street Deli closed early on Wednesday, its final day in business. By 3 p.m., the coolers were empty, the shelves were bare and even the bread had been snatched up by a surge of customers who dropped by a final time.

Employee Taylor Courville gestured toward the coolers. "All we have left is cream and beer," he said.

The Alvanos family has owned the popular sandwich shop and convenience store on the corner of Pine Street and Flynn Avenue for 11 years. The building is to be demolished and replaced by a new one with 30 studio and one-bedroom apartments.

It's been a four-year process to design the new building and secure permits, said Michael Alvanos, who helps run the deli. The closing of the family operation wasn't particularly emotional, Alvanos said. "We have a lot more work to do," he said with a shrug.

The building will have two commercial spaces on the first floor. Alvanos said he hopes to have a restaurant, but couldn't say for sure if he'd reopen Pine Street Deli.

Demolition is scheduled to begin in early June, he said.
The proposed building - COURTESY OF REDSTONE
  • Courtesy of Redstone
  • The proposed building
The deli is owned by Alvanos' parents, George and Christine Alvanos. The family previously operated the Parkway Diner near Burlington International Airport. Michael Alvanos, his brother Evan, and Taylor Courville also own the Guilty Plate Diner in Colchester.

"We wanted to design ourselves a project that we feel will support all the great things going on on Pine Street," said Alvanos, who also works as an architect for JRMA Design Studio.

This project would help the restaurant owners make ends meet, Alvanos said. He called the housing options in Burlington "anemic" and said the development would allow the family to diversify its sources of income.

Alvanos sees the development as a way to strengthen his family's ties to the South End. He grew up in the area, as did his mother. "We have a great strong connection to this area," Alvanos said. "We want to put something here that's going to last a long time."

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