Burlington mayor sets new deadlines for CityPlace developers

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Burlington’s mayor is laying out a new set of deadlines for CityPlace developers in hopes of getting the stalled $200 million project back on track.

Mayor Miro Weinberger sent a letter to BTC Mall Associates on May 29 expressing his intent to renegotiate the development agreement and reset the expectations. He wants that contract updated by July. That’s one of five specific requests he listed in his letter.

“We have requested a series of steps over the next two months and I’m happy to say that the developer has agreed to these steps,” said Weinberger, D-Burlington.

In his letter, Weinberger said he acknowledges progress developers made prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he says there hasn’t been significant progress since then.

According to the letter, BTC has not submitted permit applications for the mid-block site or 67 Cherry Street. It also states developers have not responded to an amended development agreement that was delivered in February.

Weinberger is giving them until July 30 to renegotiate. Developers are also expected to give a public update before the City Council on August 3.

Weinberger stopped short of saying whether he thinks the project will or should be revised, but says he’s open to it.

“I think it would be wrong for the city to take an overly rigid position on what they do with their property,” he said. “If they want to talk about changes as a result of this emergency and the new reality, I’d be open to hearing them out on that.”

People who live and work in Burlington have a few suggestions. Patty Crichton hopes to see housing built.

“In fact, I’d even consider one of the apartments,” she said.

Aidan Saunders is in favor of a bike path.

“I bike everywhere, so I think it would be nice even just to have a small biking path and walking path through it which could continue down the south end,” he said.

Jeff Nick thinks developers should consider creating a temporary parking lot.

“In the short run, it’d be a perfect temporary parking lot. With a little bit of lighting and some more gravel, I think it could work,” Nick said.

Per the mayor’s requests, developers must continue to pay the city a monthly fee of $10,000 to offset administrative costs of delay.

Weinberger is giving developers until August to restore the city’s right of way on Bank and Cherry streets. They’re also expected to actively participate in the small business restaurant and retail task force.

WCAX News reached out to the developers for comment but they declined.