Development | Off Message | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

CityPlace Partner Assures Council That Project Will Move Forward

Posted By on Tue, Jan 22, 2019 at 10:23 PM

Chase Martin, Brookfield Asset Management - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • Chase Martin, Brookfield Asset Management
CityPlace Burlington will get built.

That was the message from a representative of real estate firm Brookfield Asset Management who sat before the Burlington City Council Tuesday to allay concerns about the stalled 14-story project.

"We want to assure the community that the plans for CityPlace Burlington are moving forward," the company's vice president of development Chase Martin told the council. "Right now, all focus is getting this project up and running." Construction is expected to begin this spring, he added.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Champlain Lanes Bowling Alley to Close After 55 Years

Posted By on Tue, Jan 8, 2019 at 2:12 PM

Champlain Lanes in Shelburne - JOHN JAMES
  • John James
  • Champlain Lanes in Shelburne
The family that owns Champlain Lanes announced Tuesday that the 16-lane bowling alley that has operated for half a century on Route 7 in Shelburne will close in May.

Its last day of business is scheduled for May 12, which is also the conclusion of the 55th Annual Champlain International Championship Tournament.

Co-owner Randy Longe told Seven Days that the family has never owned the building that houses the business, and that their choice to close it was made in close consultation with the landlord, Trey Pecor.

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Monday, December 17, 2018

Citing New Job, Winooski Mayor Seth Leonard to Resign

Posted By on Mon, Dec 17, 2018 at 4:21 PM

Winooski Mayor Seth Leonard, center. - COURTESY CITY OF WINOOSKI
  • Courtesy City of Winooski
  • Winooski Mayor Seth Leonard, center.
The Winooski mayor's job is up for grabs.

Seth Leonard will step down from the post January 28 and pass the baton temporarily to city councilor and deputy mayor Nicole Mace. She'll serve until a new mayor is elected on Town Meeting Day in March. Leonard's term would have lasted until March 2021.

Leonard said he is leaving early because he has accepted a new job as managing director of community development at the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, effective January 8. The statewide organization's work could present a conflict of interest with various mayoral decisions, Leonard said, including those pertaining to affordable housing .

"Even the concern of a conflict, I think it is important that we remove that,” Leonard told Seven Days Monday.

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Moran Redux? Officials Present New Plan for Burlington Landmark

Posted By on Mon, Dec 10, 2018 at 11:35 PM

  • Courtesy of Lincoln Brown Illustration
  • A Moran plant design
Is the Moran building back from the dead?

Burlington officials are once again considering a plan to redevelop the old coal-fired power plant, which has sat vacant on the Lake Champlain waterfront for more than 30 years and seemed destined to be demolished.

This time, the city is proposing a partial redevelopment — not a full renovation, said Neale Lunderville, interim director of the city's Community and Economic Development Office. And unlike previous, divisive proposals, the idea was met with unbridled enthusiasm by city councilors at a meeting Monday night.

Under the plan, the basement of the old structure would be filled in and most of the brick exterior would be removed. The remaining structural steel skeleton and roof would create an open-air space for concerts or events, a skating rink or public park. It would be built and run by the city and would cost between $5.2 and $5.5 million.

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Five-Story Hotel Proposed for Williston Road in South Burlington

Posted By on Mon, Dec 10, 2018 at 6:40 PM

The hotel proposal rendering - COURTESY  OF BMA ARCHITECTURAL GROUP
  • Courtesy of BMA Architectural Group
  • The hotel proposal rendering
A local development group is proposing to build a 100-room Hampton Inn & Suites on Williston Road in South Burlington.

The five-story building would be constructed between the road and an existing 176-room Holiday Inn, which would be renovated as part of the project. Both properties, located near Dorset Street and an Interstate 89 entrance, would be accessed by a new section of city street.

The new hotel would have awnings, an outdoor terrace with public seating and a rooftop overlook, according to the proposal submitted to the South Burlington Development Review Board by the developer, Burlington-based Larkin Hospitality.

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Monday, October 29, 2018

South Burlington to Vote on Project to Anchor a New Downtown

Posted By on Mon, Oct 29, 2018 at 7:50 PM

Rendering of proposed South Burlington community building - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Rendering of proposed South Burlington community building
South Burlington residents who go to the polls November 6 will face a $21.8 million question. That's the tab for a proposed building that would house a new city hall, public library and senior center.

The long-discussed project would help anchor the suburb's hoped-for downtown, known as City Center. The building would be constructed at 180 Market Street, a short walk from the Blue Mall on Dorset Street, and across from Rick Marcotte Central School.

Approval could build momentum to create a pedestrian-oriented downtown in the suburban community. So far, the envisioned $300 million mix of housing, retail and office space has stayed mostly on the drawing board.

The community building renderings depict a three-story structure with an auditorium, meeting rooms, library, activity rooms for seniors, and office space for planning, zoning and the city clerk.

The new structure would replace the cramped municipal building at 575 Dorset Street and provide South Burlington's public library a permanent home. City officials moved the library temporarily to the University Mall last year after it outgrew its shared space with the South Burlington High School library.

If voters approve, construction of the community building would begin next spring, with completion expected in 2020. Much of the project would be financed with revenue from a city property tax that funnels money to a City Center reserve fund.

Other funds would come from tax increment financing. A portion of tax revenue from new housing, office and retail development at City Center would be used to pay off the structure. Voters have already authorized such funding for the reconstruction of Market Street and for park improvements in the downtown area.

Property taxes would not be affected, according to city handouts about the project. City forecasts assume private development will generate new tax revenue. If the actual tax revenue is lower than forecast, though, the city and its taxpayers would still be on the hook.

The city would allow the South Burlington School District to lease the existing municipal building at 575 Dorset Street and buy it after three years for a nominal fee.

Four articles on the ballot are related to the new City Hall project financing and related property easements. 

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Friday, October 19, 2018

Arkansas Man Gets Probation for Scamming Developer Don Sinex

Posted By on Fri, Oct 19, 2018 at 1:34 PM

Michael Marshall - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • Michael Marshall
An Arkansas man received one to two years' probation Friday for his role in a scam that defrauded Don Sinex and the Burlington Town Center of nearly $30,000.

Michael Marshall, 61, pleaded no contest to possession of stolen property worth more than $900, a felony. Two other charges, identity theft and false impersonation, were dismissed.

Marshall's attorney, Margaret Jansch, argued that Marshall had unwittingly been swept up in a more complicated scam targeting the Burlington developer.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

After Buying Airport-Area Homes to Raze, Burlington Wants to Save Some

Posted By on Tue, Oct 16, 2018 at 3:09 PM

Lily Lane condos - SASHA GOLDSTEIN
  • Sasha Goldstein
  • Lily Lane condos
Burlington officials spent $2 million for a cluster of condos that they intended to demolish near Burlington International Airport, but they now hope to save the structures.

Owners vacated the homes when the airport bought them in 2016 and 2017 after federal noise standards deemed them uninhabitable. The seven Lily Lane condos in South Burlington are now owned by the City of Burlington, which had intended to demolish the homes or move them from the zone.

Instead, people who work at the airport now live in them rent-free, as Burlington officials work to convince the Federal Aviation Administration, which funded the purchases, to allow the condos to remain standing. Gene Richards, BTV’s director of aviation, said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger encouraged him to “exhaust every opportunity there is to have the homes stay where they are.”

Why the change in plans?

A Federal Aviation Administration grant program required the airport to give 39 homeowners near BTV the opportunity to sell their homes in 2016. All of the Lily Lane owners took advantage of the offer; the last one sold in June 2017.

As part of the FAA program, about 145 houses near the airport have been removed since 1997. But most were “older and in disrepair” compared to the Lily Lane condos, which are well-constructed, energy-efficient units that were built in 2010, Richards said.

“We’re really hoping we don’t have to remove them,” he said. “It’s a unique and special situation.”

The airport workers who live in them now serve as “security caretakers,” according to Richards. Their presence prevents the kind of looting and vandalism that plagued other homes emptied as part of the program, he said.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Developer Has Not Sought Foundation Permit for Massive Burlington Project

Posted By on Tue, Oct 9, 2018 at 6:46 PM

City Place Burlington construction site on Tuesday - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • City Place Burlington construction site on Tuesday
When developer Don Sinex pleaded to the Burlington City Council on August 27 that he needed to get started on foundation work for the huge CityPlace Burlington project, he portrayed the situation as urgent.

The downtown site was ready for the work, Sinex told Seven Days in an email. Not moving forward would delay the project up to three months and would mean higher costs for construction, he told reporters before the council's vote.

The council gave Sinex permission to lay the foundation of the proposed 14-story building before all the project's funding and contracts were in place. Sinex said at the time that he planned to start the foundation work within two weeks.

Nearly six weeks later, he has not filed the paperwork to get a city permit for the foundation, according to Burlington's Department of Public Works.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

To Restart Construction, Burlington Amends CityPlace Agreement

Posted By on Tue, Aug 28, 2018 at 12:27 AM

The vacant Burlington Town Center construction site - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • The vacant Burlington Town Center construction site
The backhoes and crane have been quiet at the site of the mostly demolished Burlington Town Center. Developer Don Sinex has lacked the construction financing necessary under a development agreement with the city to move ahead with the next step: pouring the foundation for the 14-story CityPlace Burlington.

The Burlington City Council voted 8-2 Monday to alter that agreement in order to get things moving again. Mayor Miro Weinberger had requested in a letter late Friday that the council allow Sinex to build the foundation before he has a contract for the rest of the project.

City councilors raised questions in interviews Monday about what the changes would mean for the project, and whether approving the changes would put the city at greater risk if the project were to fail.

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