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Trading Up?

Side Dishes: Trader Joe's sets its sights on South Burlington

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The Facebook pages with names such as “I want a Trader Joe’s in Burlington, VT” attest to the demand. Soon those wannabe patrons of the upscale supermarket chain may be able to stock up on its inexpensive wine, frozen meals and dark-chocolate almonds — right here.

About eight months ago, California-based Trader Joe’s contacted Patrick Malone of Montpelier’s Malone Properties and expressed interest in a plot of his land that stretches from 192 to 222 Dorset Street in South Burlington. The latter address belongs to Healthy Living Market and Café, which is staying where it is. Malone says Healthy Living is actually one reason Trader Joe’s picked out the space.

“They know they’d have a great synergy with Healthy Living,” Malone says. As for the Lesser-Goldsmith family, which owns Healthy Living, he adds, “I’ve spoken to them, as well, and they agree they’d be a good team.” The Lesser-Goldsmiths could not be reached by press time.

Malone has proposed a 20,000-square-foot building located just north of Healthy Living. Thirteen thousand of those feet would be devoted to Trader Joe’s, the rest to another, non-food-related business.

At the April 3 South Burlington Development Review Board meeting, members pointed out a few aspects of Malone’s plan that didn’t yet comply with city ordinances. According to administrative officer of South Burlington's Planning and Zoning Department, Ray Belair, the group took particular issue with the proposed parking situation. The large lot is partially enveloped by the building, a definite no-no according to current city ordinances. The board asked Malone to return on May 1 with a revised plan.

The property owner says his contacts at Trader Joe’s are “having a difficult time” with some of the board’s suggestions, including adding a second floor to the plan. However, he’s hopeful the new market will happen.“So far, they’ve really been flexible,” Malone says. “There are just certain requirements for a business of their nature. We’re hoping we can get it there.”

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