CityPlace Burlington Developers Pay Outstanding Debt | Off Message

CityPlace Burlington Developers Pay Outstanding Debt


Mayor Miro Weinberger - COURTNEY LAMDIN
  • Courtney Lamdin
  • Mayor Miro Weinberger
CityPlace Burlington developers have met the city’s first set of demands to get the long-delayed project back on track.

Brookfield Properties wired the city $192,000 on October 7, the first of three deadlines set by Mayor Miro Weinberger in a September 27 letter that demanded the company make good on its promises.

“They have fully and timely complied,” Weinberger said. “It’s a step in the right direction, and it’s a step toward restoring some confidence in them and in the project.”

Missed deadlines have been piling up for years now. Back in 2016, then-project lead Don Sinex promised the 14-story mixed-use building would be operational by January 2019. The most action the site has seen this year, however, was when crews removed a construction crane in July. Then, Brookfield announced that the massive project would be scaled down and redesigned. There hasn’t been an update from them since.
Weinberger’s letter essentially demanded that Brookfield put its money where its mouth is. The developer had promised to pay $10,000 each month that construction was delayed and apparently fell behind between May and August to the tune of $40,000.

Brookfield also never paid Burlington Electric Department $30,000 to support its district energy plan, which would harness the steam from the McNeil plant to heat large buildings in Burlington. That invoice was sent back in March, city documents show.

The bulk of the payment — $122,000 — will fund a free parking program during the holidays, a repeat of last year's successful initiative on the developer's dime. Brookfield representatives had committed to the plan at a city council meeting in August but hadn’t yet paid up. Of the total, $72,000 is the actual parking subsidy, and $50,000 is for the promotional budget.
The mayor also demanded that Brookfield restore parking on Bank and Cherry streets and reopen public bathrooms on the mall’s lower level. Aanen Olsen, a Brookfield vice president, wrote to the mayor on Monday that work on parking will begin within a week, and bathroom renovations will begin October 28.

Before that date, Weinberger wants Brookfield to present “a feasible plan” toward executing a $50 million construction contract, according to his letter. The parties’ development agreement requires Brookfield to sign the contract before December 31. The city needs that document inked before June 2021 or else it can’t use $22 million in tax-increment financing dollars to support the project.

Also before October 28, Weinberger demanded to see Brookfield’s plan to redevelop the former Macy’s building and a commitment to retain the University of Vermont Medical Center as an anchor tenant.

Brookfield representatives are scheduled to attend the October 28 city council meeting and provide additional updates.

“[Brookfield] said they believe the additional deadlines are reasonable, and they intend to meet them,” Weinberger said. “I hope they continue to perform.”

Read the mayor's letter below:

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