As many in our community have by now likely heard, last week Brookfield announced their plans to redesign the CityPlace Burlington project. On Friday I had the opportunity to share the BBA’s perspective when VTDigger when asked about the delay.
I emphasized that downtown businesses are anxious to see the project completed and a belief that this redesign is the best bet to speed up that process.
To read my full comments in VTDigger article on the project’s redesign, click here.
Our community was told by Don Sinex and Devonwood that project construction would begin this year. It is now clear that that will not happen. The time frame for construction could be a few years.
This is not the best news for Burlington. At the BBA we will continue to advocate for a project that both meets some keys needs of the downtown and can happen as quickly as possible.
Key Downtown Needs:
- A project that is economically viable and positioned for long term success
- Reconnection of St. Paul and Pine Streets
- A substantial increase of housing units for all people across all income levels
- Parking to support the project and the city’s economy
At this point in time, Brookfield Properties is committed to delivering such a project.
Project Setbacks and Progress
While the optimistic among us may have hoped this project would be completed by now, it is important to remember some of the setbacks that put the project in this position, including the discovery of asbestos during the demolition process, and the near-constant lawsuits this project has faced.
It is also important to recognize the importance of Brookfield’s acquisition of the Macy’s property. This was not part of the original plan, but taking this extra space into account, a redesign could result in a slightly shorter building. The project’s height has been the main point of objection from opponents to the project from the beginning. We should hope that a redesign will limit obstructionist lawsuits moving forward.
It is undoubtedly frustrating to look at the ‘pit’ every day, but, it helps to remember how much progress has been made. Significant money has been spent to prime the lot for a mixed-use development that will replace a suburban style, asbestos-filled, product of urban renewal.
We remain committed to advocating for you and your business during this time of change in our downtown. We do this through initiatives like Park Burlington, our call for increased flexibility as to how DID funds can be spent, our work to address downtown safety and security, and our work for housing policy that encourages more housing downtown.
We understand that some of you in the business community may have additional questions or concerns, and we urge you to call or email me.