Mall Company Pledges Financing for Burlington Town Center Project | Off Message

Mall Company Pledges Financing for Burlington Town Center Project

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Don Sinex speaks at a press conference in December 2016. - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • Don Sinex speaks at a press conference in December 2016.
Burlington Town Center owner Don Sinex has locked down a partnership and secured the funding needed to move forward on the $225 million mixed-use development, he announced Tuesday.

Sinex's company Devonwood Investors, LLC is set to enter into a joint venture agreement with Rouse Properties, a New York City-based company that owns and operates malls around the country.

The newly announced partnership means the project is on track to break ground in "June or July," Sinex told Seven Days on Tuesday.

"The important thing to announce to the community is the funds are in hand," Sinex said.

Or nearly in hand, anyway.

The deal with Rouse is expected to close within the coming weeks, Sinex said, after nearly six months of negotiations. As co-owners, Devonwood Investors and Rouse will combine to finance 30 to 40 percent of the project, Sinex said. A construction lender will finance the remaining 60 to 70 percent of the project — a "pretty typical" arrangement for this kind of development, he said. The project is estimated to cost somewhere between $225 and $230 million.

Sinex has narrowed the field to two possible lenders and expects to announce that deal within the next month. "I'm highly confident," he said.

On its website, Rouse says it "excels at transforming conventional properties into vibrant, high-traffic destinations that are precisely aligned with the needs of their communities."

"We were intrigued by the strength and soundness of the vision Devonwood outlined for the new Burlington Town Center and impressed by the leadership of Don Sinex," Rouse Properties CEO Brian Harper said in a news release. "We agree strongly that Devonwood has the right plan to revitalize this outdated mall."

After receiving a green light from voters in November on two ballot items, the redevelopment project has moved forward — but not without hiccups.

The Coalition for a Livable City, a group working to oppose the project, filed a lawsuit alleging that the November ballot language on the tax increment financing measure misrepresented how the money would be paid back. And last month, shortly after the city's Development Review Board approved Don Sinex's plan, members of the group said they would challenge the ruling.

The lawsuit won't hold up the project, Sinex said.

"It gives me no worries. We've done everything right, and we've won at every single turn," he said, listing off the approvals the project has been granted. "My focus is finishing this project."


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