Work gets underway at Burlington’s long-stalled CityPlace project

Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 6:17 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Four years after the project stalled, construction is back underway at CityPlace. Workers were on-site at the pit in downtown Burlington on Monday. Last week developers picked up the necessary permit to begin work at the site, and it comes as a welcome sign for many.

Construction began on Monday with crews getting their bearings for what will be a monthlong excavation process of around 40,000 cubic yards of earth.

“It’s been a long, long road, been a lot of work done the last six months. This is just the beginning of a lot more work,” said Dave Farrington, a CityPlace partner.

Farrington is part of the trio of developers for CityPlace, along with Scott Ireland and Al Senecal, who bought CityPlace from developer Don Sinex this year.

Now, they are going full speed ahead and looking toward the future.

“We are super excited about it. Burlington really needs to get this thing going and so we are excited about getting this thing underway,” Farrington said.

Farrington says most of the work will be contained on the site. Crews were out Monday dismantling the long-standing blue wall outlining the property. They will move that into the middle of Bank Street which will become a one-way street during this phase of the project. However, Farrington says plenty of signals and signage will be going up to help travelers.

For businesses on nearby Church Street, any activity at the site is a welcome sign.

“It is just fabulous news, I have been looking forward to this. Burlingtonians have been looking forward to this, people who live outside Burlington have been looking forward to this, this is fabulous news,” said David Sisco, who owns Designers’ Circle.

“I’m sure there will be some disruptions from this but we are not really too worried about it. Just having the hole in the ground next to us is a disruption by itself, so we are just happy to see something going on there,” said Peter Hiskes of the Outdoor Gear Exchange.

Critics who opposed CityPlace questioned the size and scale. Some still feel the project is not the right solution to Burlington’s burgeoning housing and homelessness crises.

“They have no connections to whatever is being built. This isn’t for the people living here, this is for bigger picture, this is for people I’ll never know with more money than I’ll ever see,” said Nick Gambill of Burlington.

That said, the site will include 427 units, 80 of which will be affordable housing with some units for formerly homeless people that will be built and operated by the Champlain Housing Trust.

Developers will begin on the south building and will start pouring the foundation in December.

“Burlington there is a giant housing shortage, so this is really great news. I was hoping this project would go through and now it finally is, so I’m really happy about that,” said Rebecca Cubells of Burlington.

People can expect to see pretty continuous work at the site through November 2025. Also in 2025, they will rebuild St. Paul and Pine streets which have been long broken up by the mall.

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