CityPlace developers scale back Burlington project
CityPlace developers are vowing to move forward with their long-stalled project but say it's going to be scaled down from its initial $220 million price tag.
The new design is broken into three sections with the middle building dominating the height of the project.
They are going to start with lowering the height of the building, so at its highest point it will be 10 stories tall instead of the original 14 stories.
They've also added the former Macy's building to the project. The developer says the existing building was fairly new, so it will be easy to remodel to their new design.
"What you are seeing is a blocked diagram. It shows relationships of space to each other and it shows basic heights and now we are going to focus on refining those spaces ... and architecture," said Aanen Olsen, the vice president of Brookfield Properties.
The new design will add a hotel with 175 rooms, and it still has retail and living space like the original concept. They say modifying construction techniques will help lower the cost.
"We understand it's been a long process. We are thankful for the patience of the city and all of it constitutes. Bear with us, we are going to get this project built," said Olsen.
The developer says construction should start sometime next year, but it's unclear how long it will take.
After some back and forth, some city councilors weren't satisfied with this latest update.
"We don't know the cost of your proposal. We still don't know if there will be a new agreement. We don't know a lot of things," said City Councilor Ali Dieng, D/P-Ward 7. "We can feel, we hope this is not another dream, that we hope but what I want to ask is what is next from here?"
Olsen responded by saying they are going to be looking for feedback soon.
"We are committed to an open and public process before we get into real architecture, we'd like to get some community feedback," Olsen said.
He says public input includes learning what people want for aesthetics and what the programming needs are. Then after that, it's to the drawing board.
The developer says their architects are ready and will be meeting Tuesday to start drawing some preliminary designs.
Mayor Miro Weinberger says he's happy with the update.
"This represents, again a step in the right direction toward fixing a part of the downtown that has long been problematic, but we certainly have a long way to go after tonight," said Weinberger, D-Burlington.
Weinberger earlier this month gave Brookfield an Oct. 28 deadline to give the City Council a thorough presentation on its plans after a year of delays.
The people of Burlington remain on their toes, waiting to hear what's next for CityPlace.
"It's got to be a good project. It's got to provide enough parking so that downtown is healthy," said Steve Goodkind, who filed a lawsuit against the CityPlace developers.
It's been almost two years and the gaping hole in the middle of the city has yet to be filled, leaving many people asking-- will it ever? Kurt Wright, R-Burlington City Council president, is hopeful it will.
"I am confident that in one way or another, this hole is going to get filled. These developers -- the two of them -- have spent tens of millions of dollars on this site so far. I find it hard to believe they're going to walk away from this without putting together a serious project here," Wright said.
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