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Specialty Filaments Factory Is Still Half Empty

Local Matters


Published December 27, 2006 at 5:18 p.m.

BURLINGTON - When the Specialty Filaments Factory on Pine Street closed in 2005, it left behind a sprawling industrial complex on one of the city's busiest streets. The space wasn't empty for long. Lake Champlain Chocolates bought half the building, and recently completed construction on a new warehouse there.

Last May ["Fitness Club Puts the Moves on Specialty Filaments," May 31], Seven Days reported that the Greater Burlington YMCA was considering relocating to the other half of the building, but the deal fell through. Tim Rollings, the Y's executive director, says the nonprofit realized it would be unable to raise the $10 million needed to rehab the facility.

"It seemed like a wonderful space," he says, "but it isn't going to work out for us."

Rollings stresses that the Y is still looking for a way to overcome the shortcomings of its current, cramped headquarters on College Street. "The organization can't stay where it is," he says. He points out that the building still lacks adequate parking and drop-off space, and has lots of stairs. "In 2006, to have a building that's 90 percent inaccessible to someone in a wheelchair is embarrassing," he says. "It's ridiculous."

But Rollings admits that finding a new home that will suit all of the organization's needs seems increasingly unlikely. He says the Y is considering opening satellite branches to serve people outside of Burlington. The City of Winooski has named the Y as a potential partner in a community center project on Malletts Bay Avenue.

"No one has put the collective, official stamp of approval on that project," Rollings says, "but we're working pretty hard to make that a reality."

As for the Specialty Filaments space, Doug Nedde of Redstone says he's still got 62,000 square feet for rent. He plans to house two or three tenants in the space, and, though no one's signed a lease yet, he hopes to have something finalized early next year. Nedde confirms that the state's Department of Children and Family Services is one possible tenant.

» Read the full list of 2006 news updates.