They have a deal — if the city signs off on zoning changes. Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger announced Thursdaythat his administration, developer Eric Farrell, Champlain Housing Trust and the Vermont Land Trust have agreed how to divvy up the former Burlington College property.
Under the new development agreement, the city gets Texaco Beach, the bluffs overlooking Lake Champlain, a path through the woods and a large field — for $2 million. The city will co-own the 12 acres with the Vermont Land Trust.
Farrell is expecting the money in cash by February. Burlington will pay $500,000 from its conservation fund; the Vermont Land Trust will borrow the rest to pay up front. Depending on how much money the Land Trust raises from grants and donations to pay back the loan, Burlington may pitch in another $500,000 from the conservation fund.
The Burlington City Council, whose approval is needed, is scheduled to discuss the agreement on December 21.
The agreement sets aside 15 acres for housing.
Champlain Housing Trust will purchase an undetermined amount of land from Farrell for $1.6 million and will build 160 affordable units for seniors and families. That will be used to meet the city's inclusionary housing requirements for the entire development.
On the remaining land, Farrell plans to construct 410 market-rate apartments. The agreement leaves open the possibility of adding more workforce housing, for a maximum of 770 units on the parcel. (Farrell also has plans to convert the former orphanage building, currently owned by Burlington College, into housing.)
The deal hinges on several zoning changes. Among them: reducing the parking requirements and allowing higher buildings closer to North Avenue. If those changes aren't approved — or if the Development Review Board rules that the project doesn't meet inclusionary zoning requirements — Farrell can purchase the public space back from the city for the original sale price, plus interest.