Burlington May End Agreement With Moran Plant Developers | Off Message

Burlington May End Agreement With Moran Plant Developers


  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • Moran Plant
The city of Burlington is considering terminating its memorandum of understanding with the group that is working to redevelop the Moran Plant, according to an email obtained by Seven Days.

New Moran sent the email to its council of advisers on Monday, explaining that they were working with the city "on a mutual dissolution" of the agreement because it "has become woefully out of date and inhibits the city from exploring all its options for the Moran Plant."

The MOU was signed in 2014. Now, the $20 million project is behind schedule. What the possible dissolution means for the future of the project is unclear.

Mayor Miro Weinberger's office sent along a statement Tuesday saying the city is assessing its options — but did not confirm the agreement will be terminated. "Both parties are currently reviewing all options for resolving the future of the Moran building in the months ahead, and expect to announce a clear path soon," the statement read. 

New Moran partner Tad Cooke was similarly evasive in a statement emailed to Seven Days: "We are working with the city regarding the MOU and anticipate being able to share a path forward shortly. In the meantime, we remain committed to delivering a compelling, financially feasible redevelopment of the Moran Plant which benefits all members of the Burlington community."

The redevelopment proposal, which would rely in part on $6.3 million in tax increment financing, consists of turning the defunct coal plant on the waterfront into an events space and a marketplace with food vendors, artisans and retail shops. Approved by voters in 2014, the developers have missed multiple deadlines since, including one last year to sign a development agreement.

Weinberger previously said he plans to tear down the building if the redevelopment proposal falls through.

According to the New Moran email to advisers, the group will "present a new path forward to City Council in mid-August, including aggressive milestones for NMI to provide a cohesive, viable plan for the building in keeping with the mayor and CEDO's requirements."

"Now is truly NMI's last chance to deliver," it continues. "NMI and the city agree that the final deadline for this process will be in mid-November. During this time the city will be exploring all its options including the possibility of demolition, as well as working with developers other than NMI."

The email also noted that "patience is thin on the City Council." 

WCAX first reported the latest development in the project. 

Last Friday, the news site VTDigger reported that Redstone Commercial Group had stopped working on the project because of a conflict of interest. The development group started advising the New Moran team this spring after the Weinberger administration and city councilors admitted flagging faith in the project. Public officials at the time said Redstone's involvement was crucial to restoring their confidence in the project.

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