Member Update: CityPlace Burlington Development


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. 

Update on CityPlace Burlington from Mayor Miro Weinberger


Our Work


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.

Kelly Devine

Executive Director


Recaping the 2019 BTV Housing Summit

Last week, Mayor Weinberger and city officials hosted a housing summit at City Hall. The summit featured an afternoon-long working meeting with breakout sessions as well as an evening town hall and delved into Burlington’s housing challenges, opportunities, and key topics for policy reforms. Kelly and Colin of the BBA were both in attendance and participated in a variety of breakout sessions.

Lisa Bender, President of the Minneapolis City Council, was the keynote speaker. She spoke about the successes that Minneapolis has had in addressing their own housing shortage through a number of progressive policy reforms including changes to policies of single-family zoning, Accessory Dwelling Units, Inclusionary Zoning, and parking minimums.

The summit focused on five key areas of policy reform as identified in the City’s 2015 Housing Action Plan. The items were:

Housing Trust Fund –  restoring and increasing funding to the City’s Housing Trust Fund.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) – rule changes to make it easier to create small houses or apartments that exist on the same property lot as a single-family residence

Short-term rentals – regulating short-term rentals like Airbnb in order to balance the economic benefit for Burlingtonians with potential impacts on renters and neighborhoods

Parking minimums –   changing the parking we require for new homes, especially in the downtown

Energy efficiency in rental housing –  updates to protect renters from unreasonably and wastefully high utility costs


You can read more about these policies and details of the housing summit on the city’s website.

The administration cited a goal to deliver draft ordinances for priority policy reforms to the City Council for action this fall.

Housing affordability and supply is a top  issue of the BBA’s advocacy efforts. We know that affordable workforce housing in our area is critical to Burlington’s economic vitality. To that end, the BBA has and will continue to advocate for policies that help increase housing stock of all types, from permanently affordable to market rate units, as a means to addressing Burlington’s housing crisis.

Registration Open for Waterfront FAM Tour

Get your sunglasses out! Summer is on the way and to celebrate the annual Waterfront FAM(iliarization) Tour is back on June 6th! This is one of our most popular annual events and is free for BBA members. Kick off the season with the BBA and learn what our waterfront members have planned for summer 2019, all while enjoying an afternoon cruise aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen III on Lake Champlain.

More information and registration


Burlington Business Association FAM TourTake some time to network with fellow members of our local business community. Delicious complimentary appetizers will be provided by the Spirit of Ethan Allen and drinks will be available at a cash bar.

This event is free for BBA members and $10 for non-members. Space is limited so register ahead of time to reserve your spot. The boat leaves the dock promptly at 4pm so be sure to arrive on time so you don’t miss it!

Event Date: Thursday, June 6th, 2019

Event Time: 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Location: Aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen III, 1 College Street, Burlington VT 05401

Waterfront members are invited to speak at our “Minute at the Mic” and provide updates about their business as well as event information for the coming season. If you would like showcase your business this year sign up by following the link below. If you have any questions, please contact Administrative Coordinator Jack Commo

Sign Up for “Minute at the Mic”


Thank You to Our Event Host and Catering Sponsor:

40th Anniversary Impact Report

BBA Membership Has Impact. And we want to tell you about it.

To celebrate the Burlington Business Association’s 40th anniversary we’ve captured the impact that together BBA members have made on Burlington. We also take a look at what lies ahead.

We work hard every day on behalf of the business community. Our team of four is passionate about making sure Burlington is the best place to live, work, and do business. We advocate for you at City Council and in the Mayor’s office. We manage projects that promote Burlington’s economic vitality. And we bring the community together to foster a brighter future for our city.

40th Anniversary Impact Report

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Executive Director Kelly Devine, a member of staff, or a member of the BBA’s Board of Directors to find more about getting engaged. We are passionately focused on Burlington’s economic vitality, we need your help. We couldn’t do it without our members, your membership dues, your time, your donations and your support. All help make our work possible and help make Burlington better.

There is more work to do, but in 40 years, we’ve come a long way together.

Get Your Tickets for the BBA Dinner Raffle

The Burlington Business Association (BBA) is pleased to announce the return of the BBA Dinner Raffle to support Howard Center Street Outreach Team. Thanks to a generous donation from Perrywinkle’s Fine Jewelry, we will be raffling off a gorgeous necklace and earrings set at our 41st Annual Dinner on April 4th at the Hilton.

The winning raffle ticket will receive a necklace and studs from the Starlight Collection. Each piece was crafted here in Vermont and Montreal, Quebec. They feature 14k rose gold and responsibly sourced black diamonds. The screw back studs include 58 black diamonds. The total value of the package is over $1000.

The BBA Annual Dinner and Awards will take place at the Hilton Burlington on Thursday, April 4th from 5-9 pm. Tickets for the raffle are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased for $25 each or two for $40. Follow the link below to purchase them now.


Last year’s Rolex Raffle raised $4000 for the Howard Center Street Outreach Team, which assists those with mental health, substance abuse, homelessness, and unmet social service needs and coordinates services for those individuals. The primary goal of the team is to increase access to services for all individuals. The secondary goal is to address concerning behaviors that necessitate immediate intervention but do not rise to the level of an emergency response.

This raffle is made possible by Perrywinkle’s Fine Jewelry. The Burlington Business Association, founded in 1978, is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization with over 250 business and non-profit members. Our mission is to enhance and promote the economic vitality of Burlington, Vermont, and to assure that the City of Burlington continues as the cultural, social, political, educational and economic center of northwestern Vermont.

Purchase Tickets for the 2019 Dinner and Raffle

Fill out the form below to reserve your spot and purchase tickets for the Perrywinkle’s Diamond Raffle. If you have any questions or would like to purchase your tickets over the phone, call Jack Commo at 802-863-1175.

Please include your entree choice in the comments section. Your options are a beef filet or a vegetarian ratatouille.

If you are buying multiple tickets please write the names of our attendees in the comment section along with their entree choice.

BBA Announces 2019 Award Winners

The Burlington Business Association is pleased to announce the 2019 BBA Award Winners.  These awards honor innovative business practices, individual contributions, and architectural achievements. Award winners will be honored 41st BBA Annual Dinner on April 4, 2019, at the Hilton Burlington.

Citizen Cider is the 2019 Business of the Year. The company has continued to thrive in the South End since its founding in 2010 – a fact illustrated by their consistent recognition by Seven Days as the best hard cidery for the past six years and as one of the top craft cider producers in the country recognized by Cidercraft Magazine in 2017. That same year Citizen Cider reaffirmed their commitment to Burlington, opening their new fruit processing and storage facility on Flynn Avenue to supplement their production space on Pine Street. 

The 2019 Tim Halvorson Award for Business Person of the Year will honor Larry Williams, Principal at Redstone. Since co-founding the Redstone Commercial Group in 1992, Larry has played a vital role in many notable development projects in Chittenden County. Williams serves on the board for the UVM Medical Center Foundation, UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences Advisory Council, and the Vermont Business Roundtable. He is also a longtime supporter of the United Way and a founding member of the board of directors of Mobius, the Mentoring Movement. Recently he has worked to invigorate Vermont by becoming an investor and advisor to local beverage and restaurant start ups.

The winner of the Hertzel N. Pasackow Architectural Excellence Award is the University of Vermont Alumni House. Located at 61 Summit Street, the Alumni House is a beautiful example of Burlington’s historic architecture. Originally completed in 1892 for owner Edward Wells, the house was placed on the Register of Historic Places in 1979. From 1924-2003 it was home to UVM’s Delta Psi fraternity. Following an extensive rehabilitation headed up by Breadloaf Construction of Middlebury, the Alumni House re-opened in 2016. The building now serves as a gateway for UVM alumni to foster an enriching lifetime connection to not only the university, but to the Burlington community.

Last year the BBA honored Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty for Business of the Year, Thomas Leavitt as the winner of the Tim Halvorson Award for Business Person of the Year, and City Market for the Architectural Excellence Award. Each of these winners stands as an example of the businesses and organizations that drive Burlington’s economic vitality. We also recognized a lifetime of contributions from the late Tony Pomerleau.

RELATED: 2018 BBA Dinner & Awards Facebook Album

All award winners will be recognized at the BBA Annual Dinner on April 4, 2019, 5– 9 p.m. at the Hilton Burlington. Tickets for the dinner are on sale now and sponsorship opportunities are still available. For more information contact Executive Director Kelly Devine.

The Burlington Business Association, founded in 1978, is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization with over 250 business and non-profit members. Our mission is to enhance and promote the economic vitality of Burlington, Vermont, and to assure that the City of Burlington continues as the cultural, social, political, educational and economic center of northwestern Vermont.

Congratulations to this year’s award winners:

Larry Williams, Principal, Redstone

Business of the Year: Citizen Cider










University of Vermont Alumni House

City Council Candidate Forum on Livability

We are excited to announce that we are co-hosting a City Council Candidate Forum on Livability on Wednesday, February, 20 from 6-7:30pm at the Flynnspace at 153 Main Street. We hope our membership will take advantage of this opportunity to hear from City Council candidates as Town Meeting Day 2019 gets closer.

This event is being held in collaboration with AARP Vermont and will feature Council candidates in all four Burlington districts up for reelection this Town Meeting Day:

•         Central District / Old North End (Wards 2 & 3)
•         North District (Wards 7 & 4)
•         East District (Wards 1 & 8)
•         South District (Wards 5 & 6)

The goal of this event is to provide you with the opportunity to hear directly from the candidates on issues that are important to our shared goal of advocating for a livable and vital Burlington. Topics of discussion will include the future of transportation, housing, job growth and mobility. To learn more about your voting district and find your local polling place head to the City of Burlington’s website.

While this event is free to attend, online registration is required. Please follow the link below to register.


We also encourage you to spread the word about this important event by sharing our Facebook event with your friends and neighbors.

AARP and BBA are non-profits, non-partisan organizations. We do not endorse or oppose candidates for any public office. Our goal is to help our members understand where the candidates stand on issues that are important to our collective constituencies here in Burlington.  No campaigning is allowed on site at the event.

Register Now For the 2019 BBA Dinner

Our biggest party of the year is back and this year we’re taking it ‘Out Of This World’! The 2019 BBA Dinner and Awards is set for Thursday, April 4th at the Hilton. Registration is open now!

We can promise another festive evening of food, drinks and fun with fellow Burlington business people. The dinner is all about coming together to celebrate the great people that make up our local business community, while raising money to support the vital advocacy efforts of the BBA.

This year’s unique theme will see the ballroom transformed in to another planet, as we take you ‘Out Of This World’. As always guests are encouraged to dress up!

Registration is now open for individual tickets and table of ten. Admission includes access to our cocktail hour, dinner, awards and the live auction. Tickets can be purchased online by following the link below. We encourage you to register soon because we expect the dinner to sell out ahead of April 4th.

Attendees can enjoy a delicious taste of Vermont at this year’s cocktail hour. Thanks to a generous sponsorship from Farrell Distributing, the cocktail hour will feature tastings from 2019 Business of the Year Citizen Cider as well as Stowe based von Trapp Brewery.

As always the dinner will be an opportunity to recognize the best of our local business community, including the presentation of our annual awards. Stay tuned, as we will soon be announcing the winners of the Tim Halvorson Business Person of the Year, Business of the Year and the Hertzel Pasackow Award for Architectural Excellence.

Last year the BBA honored Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty for Business of the Year, Thomas Leavitt as the winner of the Tim Halvorson Award for Business Person of the Year, and City Market for our Architectural Excellence Award.

RELATED: 2018 BBA Dinner & Awards Facebook Album

We are still offering sponsorship opportunities for the annual dinner. For more information about sponsorship levels and how you can showcase your business at this high profile event, contact our Executive Director Kelly Devine.

2019 will mark the 41st edition of the BBA Dinner and we look forward to celebrating the achievements of our local business community with everyone on April 4th at the Hilton.

Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor

Thank You to our Dinner Sponsors




Thank You to our Cocktail Reception Sponsor

Thank You to our Program Sponsors

Alex Bunten Named Special Projects Manager

The Burlington Business Association (BBA) is pleased to announce the hiring of Alex Bunten as special projects manager. Taking over from Derik Wrightson, Bunten will work closely with key stakeholders and the City of Burlington to improve the parking and transportation dynamics in the Queen City.

The BBA was formed in 1978 to help advance the formation of the Church Street Marketplace pedestrian mall – an early example of a downtown improvement district. The group focussed on enhancing the economic vitality of Burlington and today focuses on issues such as transportation and parking, public safety, infrastructure maintenance and improvement, cleanliness, signage, taxes and zoning.

“Alex is a strategic thinker, has excellent organizational skills and brings a lot of valuable experience to the organization,” said Kelly Devine, executive director of the BBA. “It’s been a time of rapid change but Alex has jumped right in and we’re happy to have him on board.”

Born and raised in Charlotte, Vermont, Bunten finished his undergraduate degree at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and later completed a masters degree in international relations at Uppsala University, Sweden, and the University of Deusto, Spain.

After spending more than a decade living and working abroad in communications, management and education, Bunten returned to Vermont in 2015. Most recently he worked at Pale Morning Media in Waitsfield, Vt., where he managed public relations portfolios for national and international outdoor brands.

“Burlington is a special place and I’m thrilled to be working for an organization whose mission is to make sure it stays that way,” said Bunten. “I look forward to connecting with the local business leaders and community stakeholders to understand how we can make living, working and doing business here a positive experience for all.”

Alex Bunten can be reached at [email protected] or 802-863-1175, ext. 3.