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CityPlace developers feeling ‘optimistic’ about settlement agreement

Published: Feb. 9, 2021 at 1:41 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 9, 2021 at 8:24 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The fate of one aspect of Burlington’s long-stalled CityPlace project rests in the City Council’s hands and developers say they’re optimistic the council will allow them to move forward.

The council Monday heard a presentation on details of the settlement agreement reached last week between the city and the developers that calls for reconnecting St. Paul and Pine Streets within the next two years. The city will use the voter-approved TIF money to reimburse construction costs, but if the streets are not built within the timeframe that has been agreed upon, the developers must pick up the cost.

The council will vote next week on the agreement. If they turn it down, the city’s lawsuit against the developers will be back on the table.

Dave Farrington, one of the developers, says he doesn’t think that will happen. “We’re just optimistic that the city council will like this more than they dislike it. It’s a vote so there’s, what, 12 people there, and we’re hoping seven or eight really like this and think it’s the way to go and get Burlington back on to filling this pit in. We’re very, very optimistic,” Farrington said.

The majority owner of CityPlace, Don Sinex, says construction on the entire project-- streets and the CityPlace building-- will move forward. He expects work to begin this fall if no appeals are made to further delay the development. Sinex says the public can trust that the a scaled-down version of the once $200 million project will get done. “We’re confident that we have designed it right and we’re confident we are going to construct it right,” Sinex said. “So, yes, I would suggest they have a lot of confidence. We didn’t pay Brookfield millions of dollars and now agree to these concessions to the city because we don’t want to build the project. We’re going to build the project.”

The scaled-down version includes no office space, no hotel and less retail. About 400 apartments are expected to be built. The first 180 are projected to be finished in 2023. The entire project is slated for completion by 2026.

Sinex says they plan to build the project in phases. He hopes that strategy will make it easier to secure financing.

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