Judges Uphold Burlington Town Center Project

The Burlington community received good news on the Burlington Town Center redevelopment. The judges in two separate lawsuits ruled on behalf of moving the project forward. The BBA remains strongly in support of redevelopment our 1970’s mall and reconnecting our downtown street grid.


On Friday, Vermont Superior Court Judge Robert Mello dismissed three of four counts raised in an appeal on the grounds that they had no legal basis. The appeal related to the public vote on Tax Increment Financing (TIF)funding for the reopening of Pine Street and Saint Paul Street to public use. Judge Mello has not yet ruled on a fourth complaint in the appeal.

Burlington attorney John Franco who is currently leading three separate lawsuits against the city relating to the BTC project has said that he will appeal Judge Mello’s dismissal to the state supreme court once the fourth complaint is adjudicated.


In one of those cases, environmental court Judge Thomas Walsh did not grant a stay that would have prevented construction from beginning this summer. On Monday, the judge ruled that the appeal was not strong enough to justify the financial harm that would’ve meant for developer Don Sinex.

Sinex plans to begin construction on the project in early July, while Judge Thomas deliberates on whether the project fits city zoning regulations.

Lead Architect Jesse Beck Repudiates False CLC Claim

Jesse Beck, AIA, NCARB, President of Freeman, French & Freeman has provided a statement to dispute recent comments made by a Coalition for Livable City supporter in regards to the Burlington Town Center redevelopment.

“It is irresponsible to provide unfounded accusations of fraud and lying, and yet the harm is done when the public reads the headline, skims the piece, and loses confidence in the project or the process. This project has gone through dozens and dozens of public meetings, multiple votes at City boards, City Council, and our ballot boxes.” said Beck in a statement.

Beck’s comments are in response to a recent editorial which made incorrect claims about the project’s height and massing in architectural renderings.

In addition to other criticisms, Beck points out the author, “fails to mention that the landscape architect who raised the question about the Google Earth image admitted that he was unaware of the shadow studies and, once he had reviewed them and taken the time to understand what they present, agreed they were accurate.”

Having already received its necessary local permits, the Burlington Town Center redevelopment currently sits before the State environmental court as part of an appeal from members of the Coalition for a Livable City. On November 8th, Burlington voters supported two ballot measures needed for construction in a vote that was widely seen as a referendum on the project.

The Burlington Town Center redevelopment stands to have a significant positive impact on the economic vitality of Burlington with the addition of 272 units of housing in the downtown. In addition, completion of the project will see 230,000 square feet of office space and the reopening of two streets currently blocked by the mall.

Downtown & Village Center Tax Credits Available

Applications for the next round of Downtown and Village Center tax credits and the Sales Tax Reallocation Program are due June 30, 2017.  Tax credits support general rehabilitation, code compliance, and exterior improvements.  Here are the Guidelines and Application.

Federal and state rehabilitation tax credits help to stimulate private investment, create jobs, restore historic buildings and jump start the revitalization seen in Vermont’s Designated Downtowns and Village Centers. Successful projects range from small bed and breakfasts and rental apartments to multimillion dollar downtown redevelopments.  To learn more about these programs or schedule a meeting, contact Caitlin Corkins at [email protected] or 802-828-3047.

What is a tax credit? 
While not cash or a grant, tax credits essentially redirect income taxes owed to help pay the construction bills. For example, if your tax bill is $10,000, a $4,000 credit will reduce your tax bill to $6,000. Credits are available from both the federal government and the State of Vermont.

Does my building qualify? 

  • Federal Rehabilitation Investment tax creditsare available for eligible historic commercial buildings, meaning income-producing buildings, listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Many of Vermont’s designated downtowns and villages are listed and pre-qualified for federal credits.
  • State Downtown & Village Center tax creditsare available for eligible commercial buildings and non-profit owned buildings constructed before 1983 (sorry, no private residences, but rental properties are eligible) located within designated downtown or village centers.

What work qualifies? 
Federal and state tax credits support general rehabilitation, code compliance, and exterior improvements. In some cases, projects may be eligible for both the federal and state programs. Both programs are designed to enhance the historic character of Vermont and use the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation to assure changes are sensitive and appropriate. For specific advice on a project, staff is available to meet on site and discuss how the Standards apply to individual projects.

Downtown Sales Tax Reallocation Program

Municipalities and the developer of the qualified project may jointly apply to the Downtown Board for a reallocation of sales taxes on construction materials. Qualified projects must be located within a designated downtown district and may be eligible for a reallocation of sales taxes on construction materials. Reallocated taxes must be used by the municipality to support the qualified project.

Applications for State Sales Tax Reallocation credits are due June 30, 2017. Read our Guidelines and Application for more details.

Program Essentials

Applications must be for qualified projects within a designated downtown. The Board will not consider projects that are substantially completed before designation is granted to the municipality.

  • Applications may be submitted either just prior to the start of construction or during construction of the qualifying project, but not after construction has been substantially completed.
  • The application must demonstrate that the qualified project will be under construction within 12 months of the award date, and that the municipal project must be completed within 30 months of the award date.

Registration Opens for BBA’s FAM Tour event

Tickets are now available for BBA’s popular annual members’ meeting, the Waterfront FAM(iliarization) Tour.

The FAM tour is one of BBA’s popular annual events. Bring your sunglasses and kick off summer aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen III! Enjoy a complimentary breakfast, network with BBA Members and learn what our waterfront businesses have in store for their Summer season all while enjoying a morning tour of Lake Champlain.

This event is free for BBA Members.

Please register here.

Waterfront members are encouraged to sign up to speak during our Minute at the Mic. Sign up to speak here.

BBA Celebrates the 2017 Award Winners at Annual Dinner

Thank you to everyone who attended our 2017 BBA Annual Dinner & Awards on Thursday, April 6th. We were proud to honor our 2017 award winners — Seventh Generation for Business of the Year, David Provost for Business Person of the Year, and Select for our Architectural Excellence Award, as well as a special recognition for the Vermont Air National Guard. Pics below!

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John Caulo Takes Over Committee Chair Position for SEAG

After a brief break in 2016, the South End Action Group will reconvene for regular monthly meetings under a new Committee Chair. With the current Chair, Russ Scully moving into the role of Chair of the BBA Board of Directors, John Caulo, BBA Board Member and Associate Vice President of Campus Planning & Auxiliary Services at Champlain College will be taking over the leadership of the South End Action Group.

We would like to invite members from the South End to meet John on Wednesday, March 28th 9:30am at The Miller Center on Lakeside Avenue in Burlington. This will be an opportunity for everyone to not only meet our new chair, but also discuss our vision for the future of the SEAG.
For more information about SEAG, please email Jack.

Burlington Town Center Receives Unanimous Approval from DRB

The BBA is excited to see the Burlington Town Center redevelopment reach a critical milestone, following unanimous approval from the Development Review Board.

Combined with previous approval from the City Council, Design Advisory Board and Conservation Board, we can now say that the Burlington Town Center redevelopment has received nearly all permits necessary for construction to begin and while opponents of the project have made clear their intention to appeal the project’s TIF component, it is our expectation that construction will begin by mid-summer.

Throughout the long public process we have maintained that this project is crucial to the future economic vitality of our downtown. This project will transform the current outdated mall site into a thriving mixed use neighborhood, providing housing, “Class A” office space and retail space in the heart of our downtown. This new opportunity for a ‘live, work, play’ lifestyle in Burlington, will benefit not only residents, but our downtown businesses as well.

Whether it was speaking in front of City Council, volunteering during the election or just having conversations with friends and neighbors, the BBA and its members made a significant contribution to advancing the Burlington Town Center redevelopment.


BBA Announces the 2017 Winners of the BBA Annual Awards

Burlington, VT- The BBA announced today the winners of the 2017 BBA Annual Awards, which will be presented at the Annual Dinner & Meeting on April 6th at the Hilton Burlington. The awards and winners include:



Awarded to


David Provost,  Vice President for Finance & Administration at Middlebury College, and formerly Vice President of Finance and Administration at Champlain College. 

To recognize a local businessperson who presents the combination of being a business leader whose work has promoted the economic vitality of Burlington and who has devoted their time, energy and resources to the betterment of the Burlington community. Full Press Release


Awarded To

Seventh Generation


“For exemplary business practices, contributions to the community, promotion of a positive image for Burlington, and business success.” Established in 2002, originally as the Small Business Award. Read the full Press Release



Awarded To



“For significant contribution to the physical or architectural quality of Burlington.” Established in 1986 in memory of Hertzel Pasackow, owner of the Mayfair on upper Church Street, and founding member of both BBA and the Church Street Marketplace Commission. Read the full Press Release

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Select’s Flynn Avenue warehouse space, photographed prior to renovations: 208_Construction_ThirdFloor_Elan


Vermont Air National Guard

“The Green Mountain Boys”

The BBA will recognize the Vermont Air National Guard with a special recognition at the BBA Annual Dinner. This is the first time The BBA has handed out this award. Full Press Release