The City of Winooski has received four proposals to develop one of the last open downtown parcels and will consider a range of projects including a hotel, offices and housing, city manager Jessie Baker said.
She plans to recommend one plan to the city council for consideration at its November 4 meeting. “We're weighing those options now," Baker said. Until then, the plans are not public, she said.
The city issued a request for proposals for the parcel, known as Lot 7D, on July 22, after negotiations with developer Adam Dubroff to build a hotel or multi-family housing unit on the property fell apart. He is instead refocusing his efforts to build a 90-room Tru by Hilton hotel about a block away, near the Champlain Mill.
Winooski has been working to bring a hotel to the downtown for at least five years.
Lot 7D is at the corner of Abenaki Way and Winooski Falls Way, in the gravel parking lot between Community College of Vermont and the Riverrun apartment building. The 0.83-acre parcel is in the city's designated downtown redevelopment zone, where new condos, apartments, office and retail operations worth a combined $200 million have sprung up over the past 15 years.
The city has eyed a portion of the lot for construction of a new municipal parking garage to ease a downtown parking crunch. In March, voters approved a bond for the garage. The request for proposals outlined various potential development scenarios. A developer could build a garage and lease spots to the city, or vice versa.
Dubroff did not submit a proposal but is pushing city officials to negotiate with him on his own hotel plan, on the third different site he's considered.
It would now be built on land right next to his original site, wedged between the Champlain Mill and the Winooski bridge. Neighboring businesses objected to the first location for lack of parking. Critics also said the lot was too small for a hotel. Dubroff is now proposing to swap that parcel for a city-owned one. He told the city council on October 7 that he and his partners are at "impasse" in their negotiations with city officials.
"We need your help and support to make this happen,” Dubroff said.
Dubroff later told Seven Days he and his partners want a deal by the end of the year and that he went before the council in hopes of hurrying things up. Baker said she doesn't consider negotiations with Dubroff to be at an impasse.
"He hasn’t put forward an actual project there yet,” Baker said. She added: "I certainly am willing to work with Adam and with any developer who wants to do business in the city.”