The owners of the stalled CityPlace Burlington project are paying for downtown parking this holiday season.
Beginning Friday and lasting through Christmas, developer Don Sinex and business partner Brookfield Asset Management will spend $72,000 to cover free four-hour parking at the College Street and Lakeview garages; two-hour parking at street metered spaces; free weekend parking at the city's Elmwood lot; and additional parking benefits for employees of downtown shops and restaurants.
"We’re really rolling out the red carpet to support the great local businesses downtown," said Chapin Spencer, director of the Department of Public Works. The promotion is "much greater and much broader than last year's effort," he added.
The 2017 discount included two hours of free on-street parking during Black Friday and every Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That plan cost about $10,000 and was paid for by the Church Street Marketplace, according to Spencer.
The more expansive plans this year come amid delays at the CityPlace project, where Sinex holds a permit allowing him to block about 35 parking spaces around the site during construction. The redevelopment of the old downtown mall has stalled. Construction crews have done no significant work since August and not much is likely to happen until the spring. City officials, meanwhile, have begun to voice their concerns.
So is Sinex buying himself some goodwill? He didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but Spencer said that city officials approached the developer several weeks ago and asked for some funding to help with a holiday parking proposal.
"Given the construction and the redevelopment downtown, there’s been increased interest in a more robust parking program downtown," Spencer said. "We put together a proposal that we thought was doable and could be implemented on short notice and that could provide a great boost to our local business downtown."