Deal could allow CityPlace construction to start by fall

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 5:42 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A legal settlement announced Friday concerning the construction of Burlington’s CityPlace could clear the way for some work to begin on the long-stalled project as early as this fall.

BTC Mall Associates, the developers of CityPlace, settled a legal fight with Burlington developer Redstone, which owns property next door. Officials say the agreement now allows BTC to work with partners to try to secure financing for the project over the coming months.

“We are going to start re-engaging the development team, the crew, the designers, the architects, engineers -- stuff we’ve been holding off on not knowing the outcome,” said Dave Farrington, part of the development team.

Full terms of the settlement have not been disclosed. It also includes the city of Burlington, which will pay Redstone $400,000 for land needed for a new city street and a deal on parking spaces.

In a statement, Redstone officials said: “We are happy that we could move beyond our differences to reach an agreement that puts the interests of the community first. As long-time collaborators with the city of Burlington, we hope to see the downtown area continue to become even more dynamic and vibrant.”

Farrington says now that the Redstone deal is cleared, even though they are four months behind schedule, people could see some activity at the downtown site beginning late in the fall, with official construction starting in the spring of 2022. “I’m a local guy and my other two partners -- when we joined up with Don {Sinex}, we were really excited about this project because it’s right in our hometown, our backyard. It’s what we do, so, you know how excited we’re going to be,” Farrington said.

There are still two outstanding lawsuits against CityPlace. Attorney John Franco says Sinex has not lived up to the terms of a previous settlement agreement and is suing again. “We don’t oppose the project. He’s always accused us of opposing the project. What we want is the parking mitigation he promised to make the settlement happen four years ago,” Franco said.

Brian Dunkiel, the attorney for BTC, countersued, claiming it’s Franco and his clients who are not honoring the agreement. “BTC has demonstrated it can work things out with its neighbors and the community when they’re reasonable, and attorney Franco and his clients failed to meet that standard,” Dunkiel said.

Don Sinex says this legal battle will not prevent construction from occurring, but the lawyers say pending litigation is never good for a project.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger says he is hopeful the agreement will lead to action on the project. “This is a project that has a lot going for it and should be able to happen. It is up to the developers to deliver on that and make it happen. I will continue to do what I can to support that because their success is a success for us,” he said.

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