BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) The construction of CityPlace in downtown Burlington will take even longer now due to challenges related to COVID-19. It's the first update since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Jeff Glassberg, the attorney representing Burlington in the project, gave an update before the City Council Monday night aimed at resetting the city’s expectations regarding the project’s timeline. He says it's possible construction could begin this year but he’s skeptical.
After over a year of delays and a gaping pit in the heart of Burlington, officials back in January had hoped the 10-story, $200-million revised project could get wrapped up by late 2022 or early 2023.
People we spoke with in Burlington were not happy to hear that.
"I feel like there’s a lot of potential with what could be done with the whole mall and everything," said Ethan White. "And it’s just a bummer to not see it come to fruition in such a long time."
Glassberg says some of the delays are due to permit applications not being submitted prior to the stay-at-home order, and he believes some new challenges may arise in the coming year such as not being able to obtain commercial financing.
Some people weren’t surprised to hear the pandemic is throwing a wrench in the project.
"Just from the way it’s impacted everything, people’s everyday lives, I sort of imagined it would be expected that this would be delayed a little bit," said Werner Hunter of Essex Junction.
Multiple Burlington residents say they think the project is worth it, but they’re urging developers to not waste any more time.
"It's a waste space, they need to do something. That’s a valuable space in Burlington. People need places to live and park their cars, restaurant openings, there’s supposed to be a lot happening there," Andie Edson said. "People need to make a decision and get moving on it because it’s time.”
Councilors had a few questions for Glassberg and he said their questions will be better answered by developers themselves. He said developers are expected to face the public about this to give us a better idea of the project's timeline.
WCAX reached out to Brookfield, the developers for the project, for a statement, here's what they had to say:
“As businesses and communities begin to resume public life, we want to respect Burlington’s priorities at this time. We look forward to taking the next step on this project since we know the community is eager to understand the process that will revitalize this important part of the city. We’re excited to share our plans in due course.“