Plans for music venue and more on Burton's Burlington campus

Published: Feb. 7, 2019 at 2:57 PM EST
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We're getting an inside look at plans to create an entertainment complex on the Burton campus in Burlington. It would be at 152 Industrial Parkway, which is the warehouse building right next to Burton's main offices.

WCAX broke the news about the plans last month, but at that time, details weren't public. Now, our Cat Viglienzoni found out what's in the works.

"This would be the Higher Ground performance venue. Basically, it's just a big box," said Justin Worthley of Burton.

Walking into Burton's warehouse, you'll see this open space. Burton bought this building in 2007 from General Dynamics and GD left in 2014.

"It's essentially been open and unused since then," Worthley said.

But if all the plans fall into place, it won't remain that way.

"The space is just perfect for what we're looking for," said Alan Newman, the co-owner of Higher Ground.

Newman says the high ceilings and large room fit the music venue's bill. They have been looking to move from their South Burlington location and need a big, open space that isn't terribly expensive because they'll only use it 100 or so nights a year.

"It's a good deal for them, it's a good deal for us and hopefully it'll be a spectacular deal for people in and around Burlington," Newman said.

Burton's project is by no means a done deal just yet. The City Council still has to approve the zoning changes that would allow Higher Ground to move in, and then, they would also have to get a permit for some of the work that needs to be done.

"We've had a ton of people expressing interest in being part of it," Worthley said.

Higher Ground isn't the only prospective tenant. Worthley says tens of thousands of square feet inside the building would be totally transformed-- unused cubicles into a restaurant food hall and storage rooms into a new skate park. Burton's research and development would stay. Their retail would move in, too.

Worthley says the goal is to make their campus a destination.

"We're part of the South End but not part of the South End tier. And I think what we're trying to do is connect into the incredible things going on just north of us," Worthley said.

He knows some neighbors are concerned about traffic and noise. Burton says the planned Champlain Parkway will help with the extra cars. For its part, Higher Ground says it's committed to sonic isolation.

"There will be no sound coming out of the building," Newman said.

Higher Ground says if all the pieces fall into place, they're targeting fall 2020 for the new location.

Burton says it will sort out the rest of its vision over the coming months.

You might remember Higher Ground had last been considering moving to the old bank building in downtown Winooski. Newman says that plan fell through because of financing.