Developer Don Sinex has tapped a South Burlington construction firm to head up development of the Burlington Town Center.
At a press conference at the downtown mall on Wednesday, Sinex announced that PC Construction will build the $250 million project, which he hopes will break ground in the spring. He also introduced a dozen additional contractors, many of them based in and around Burlington, responsible for landscaping, parking, engineering and art projects.
In front of the mall's Christmas array and a Santa Claus, Sinex highlighted the local roots of those he had picked. "Buy local — that's what I've done," he said. It's just the first step in "transforming and strengthening the local economy," he said.
Sinex, the mall's owner and managing partner of Devonwood Investors, said he chose PC Construction out of a group of three construction companies vying for the job during an 18-month process. The employee-owned company has also constructed the Green Mountain Transit downtown transit center and Hotel Vermont and completed renovations in the Hilton Burlington hotel. Jay Fayette, senior vice president of PC Construction, called the project a "once-in-a-generation city revitalization."
The development will include 274 new apartments, office and retail space, and will reopen two previously closed blocks of Pine and St. Paul streets.
The team "bodes well for the future of the project," said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, who was on hand for the announcement.
Sinex said he plans to file a planning and zoning application by December 15, the first in a multistep permitting process that will include applications to the city's Development Review Board, Conservation Board and Design Advisory Board. Sinex does expect "some revisions" to the current design, which was finalized in October.
Sinex also thanked voters for approving a zoning measure to allow for the project's 160-foot height. The November 8 vote, which passed by a margin of 54 to 46 percent, was a big hurdle for the development, now scheduled for completion by September 2019.
Opposition still remains. In late November, project opponents filed suit against the city, alleging that the $21.8 million tax increment financing proposal, which will pay for street improvements in and around the project, was inaccurately portrayed on the ballot.
"We disagree with the assertions [of the suit] and with the intent to obstruct the will of the voters," Weinberger said. The suit has not slowed down progress on the development, he added, and the city plans to file a response to the complaint by the end of the year.
Burlingtonians have already given their vote of confidence to the project, he said. "I want voters to know that I take that responsibility seriously and we're working hard to ensure that all the community benefits ... are achieved," he said.