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Burlington Approves Demolition of Historic Cathedral

an image of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Burlington

Closed in 2018 due to lack of funding, Burlington’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is now set to be torn down.  Located at 20 Pine Street in downtown Burlington, the 2.2 acre plot is currently under contract to be sold to a developer.  As part of the deal, the parish requested the building to be torn down to “desanctify” the property in preparation for it’s future intended use.

However, city officials and preservationists opposed the demolition citing it’s historic significance.  According to the article in Seven Days, the Burlington Developmental Review Board ultimately decided that historic significance was not enough to prevent demolition due to a state law that limits zoning review of houses of worship.

For more information and history on this story check out the article “Burlington Allows Parish to Demolish Historic Cathedral” on SevenDaysVT.com. Since 1985, we’ve helped thousands of clients buy and sell real estate in Northwest Vermont.  Our goal is to provide you with the local insight, information, and resources necessary to make your purchase and/or sale an informed and enjoyable experience.  

Update on Burlington Parking Reform

an image of cars parked in front of buildings in downtown Burlington Vermont

UPDATE: The Burlington City Council approved a new parking ordinance intended to encourage residential development throughout the city by removing parking minimums for new housing developments.  

The new ordinance now sets limits to the maximum number of parking spaces rather than establishing a minimum. According to City estimates, one parking spot can cost developers thousands of dollars to build and can lead to a corresponding monthly rental increase up to as much as 30%. 

For more information on how the city plans to manage the transportation demands associated with new housing developments in Burlington check out the full article, "Burlington Council Changes Parking Rules for New Buildings", on SevenDaysVt.com.  Since 1985, we’ve helped thousands of clients buy and sell real estate in Northwest Vermont.  Our goal is to provide you with the local insight, information, and resources necessary to make your purchase and/or sale an informed and enjoyable experience.  

What's Next for Burlington's Memorial Auditorium?

a black and white photo of Burlington's Memorial Auditorium

(Photo Courtesy of Louis L. McAllister/UVM Special Collections)

According to the City of Burlington’s website, Memorial Auditorium in Downtown Burlington was built in 1927 to honor World War I veterans and serve as a public auditorium and civic center in the heart of Burlington. 

However, in 2016 the historic building was closed due to structural and safety concerns and has been sitting mostly vacant ever since.  During the 6+ years it’s been shut down, there have been many ideas as to what to do with the over 57,000 sqft of space.  Meanwhile it’s costing city taxpayers, approximately $55,000 per year for insurance, utilities, and maintenance. 

Once home to concerts featuring major artists like Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel and Nina Simone to name a few; recent renovation estimates submitted to the city have come in as high as $40 milllion.  However, fresh off the challenges created by Covid-19 pandemic and the unforeseen need to build a new high school campus, the city of Burlington’s borrowing power has been drastically diminished leading city leadership to look for partners within the private sector.

In an article recently published on VTDigger.com, three proposals are said to have been received by the city’s Community and Economic Development Office and are being reviewed by a selection committee with recommendations due to the City Council by January of 2023.  One concept attempts to address the fight for affordable housing within city limits and proposes a 40-unit housing complex with a mix of “workforce housing, student rentals, working veterans and market rate units.”

A second proposal by a local group called Babaroosa looks to create a 26,000 sqft. immersive art exhibit as well as areas for community use and youth art space.  The third idea, from local music advocacy nonprofit group Big Heavy World, would look to restore the building to a version of its previous purpose as a concert venue, performing arts center and youth-centered community space.

For more information, including more details on the proposed housing development, check out the full article – “Housing and art options considered for Burlington’s Memorial Auditorium” on VTDigger.com.  Since 1985, we’ve helped thousands of clients buy and sell real estate in Northwest Vermont.  Our goal is to provide you with the local insight, information, and resources necessary to make your purchase and/or sale an informed and enjoyable experience.  We will continue to update this ongoing story as new information is released…

Welcome Home: Addressing Burlington's Housing Crisis

An image of City Hall in Burlington Vermont

In collaboration with the city of Burlington, local developers are making major progress when it comes to creating more housing available for those looking to make the Queen City their home.  In addition to the well-documented CityPlace development, a number of others projects are nearing completion which are poised to add desperately needed market rate and affordable housing options within Burlington city limits.

In an article published on WCAX.com, local developer Eric Farrell was quoted as saying “This is my town, this is where I grew up, this is where I want to live and work, and so this is where I’m building housing.”  Construction continues at Farrell’s Cambrian Rise development, with nearly half of the nearly 1,000 units already completed and occupied.  Echoing the sentiment of developers and residents alike, Farrell adds, “I don’t think I could build fast enough to catch up to demand”.

Located downtown, the Nest is developer Doug Nedde’s latest venture in redeveloping the area adjacent to the CityPlace construction site.  After having brought 49 new units to market in the old People’s United Building on Pine Street, the Nest is set to offer an additional 49 units which as of today, is nearly fully rented with residents awaiting the official launch currently scheduled as December of 2022.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger says he is committed to doubling housing production in the next five years which would equate to over 1,000 new units each year.  As part of his 10-point housing plan, Weinberger intends to modify antiquated zoning regulations to clear the way for additional development in areas such as the South End and UVM’s Trinity Campus.  For more information, check out the full article on WCAX.com, “Developers push to boost Chittenden County housing market”.

As the top-selling Team in Burlington, we are encouraged by the recent progress made in addressing the aging housing stock in Vermont’s cultural, artistic, and economic center.  Since 1985, we’ve helped thousands of clients buy and sell real estate in Northwest Vermont.  Our goal is to provide you with the local insight, information and resources necessary to make your purchase and/or sale a comfortable, informed and enjoyable experience. 

Burlington Considers Citywide Parking Reform

A photo of parked cars in downtown Burlington Vermont

Two years ago, the Burlington City Council passed an ordinance eliminating minimum parking space requirements for the developers of downtown Burlington housing projects.  As part of the ongoing effort to provide more affordable housing options within city limits, the ordinance was designed to not only lower the cost for developers to build new affordable units, but also to decrease the dependence on cars throughout the city.

Looking to build upon the success of these recent downtown parking reforms, the Council is now considering a new ordinance that would expand the minimum (and maximum) parking requirements throughout the entire city.  Additionally, the new legislation would require housing developers to offer subsidized transportation options such as car-share services while detaching the price of parking from the monthly rental amount of a given unit.

Although it was presented and discussed briefly during the October 17th meeting, an official vote on the ordinance has been pushed back to allow more time for public input. For more information check out the article “Can new parking rules attract development while reducing use of cars in Burlington?” on WCAX.com.

Since 1985, we’ve helped thousands of clients buy and sell real estate in Northwest Vermont.  Our goal is to provide you with the local insight, information and resources necessary to make your purchase and/or sale an informed and enjoyable experience.  We will continue to update this ongoing story as new information is released…    

CityPlace Burlington Plans Updated Once Again

Although construction has yet to begin, progress continues to be made by the local development group now in charge of the long-stalled CityPlace Burlington project.  As part of a request to use $275,000 in federal HOME Investment grant money, the group unveiled new plans for an eight-story affordable housing building to be located at 130 Bank Street.

In partnership with Champlain Housing Trust, this stand-alone building is a departure from the earlier concept that called for affordable housing units to be included in the two 10-story towers that will flank each end of proposed project.  Brian Pine, director of the city’s Community & Economic Development Office (CEDO), spoke positively about the modified plans saying, “This is very positive, this is certainly greater progress in at least this part of the project coming to fruition, and I think that bodes well for the whole project.”

With an important construction deadline looming on September 30th, the city is actively exploring the possibility of extending the deadline to allow the project team additional time to finalize their plans.  The city’s optimism towards reaching a mutually agreeable path forward was also echoed by Mayor Miro Weinberger who was quoted as saying “While this project, like any major development, still faces challenges, the new ownership team has made more progress in the last four months than in the prior four years.” 

It is likely that another major announcement will be made before the looming deadline at the end of the month.  For more information, check out the full article on Seven Days Magazine…

CityPlace Developers Move Toward Building Affordable Housing on Vacant Site | SevenDaysVT.com

Since 1985, we’ve helped thousands of clients buy and sell real estate in Northwest Vermont.  Our goal is to provide you with the local insight, information and resources necessary to make your purchase and/or sale a comfortable, informed and enjoyable experience.  We will continue to update this ongoing story as new information is released…

Changes to Vermont's Lead Control EMP Program

an image of a teal door with a gold key

Rental property owners across Vermont recently received an email from the Vermont Department of Health regarding changes to the “Essential Maintenance Practices” (EMP) that are set to go into effect this coming October 1st.  As part of the State’s new Regulations for Lead Control, the program will now be called “Inspection, Repair and Cleaning Practices” (IRC) and will require additional certifications for those looking to certify and/or repair properties in accordance with existing EMP compliance guidelines.

Designed to reduce the risk of lead poisoning in children living in rental housing built prior to 1978, the EMP program requires applicable property owners/managers to complete annual inspections (and necessary repairs) and register a compliance statement with the State.  Up to this point, property owners and managers who attended a state-provided training course were allowed to both “self-certify” and make repairs to their properties in order to obtain EMP compliance.

The biggest changes to the program include a new training course for self-certification and further limits who exactly is able to perform repairs on properties that need paint repairs.  Below is an excerpt from the State of VT’s email detailing the new guidelines…

  • You will still be able to use your EMP certificate to perform IRCs (except for repairs) for 5 years from the date you took the EMP training. After that, you will need to take the new IRC training to receive an updated certificate number.If your EMP certificate is older than 5 years, you have until October 1, 2023 to update your EMP certificate to an IRC certificate.The IRC certificate will need to be renewed every 5 years.Learn more about updating your certificate here: www.healthvermont.gov/IRC-training.
  • You will no longer be able to perform paint repair of one square foot or more per interior room or exterior surface on pre-1978 rental housing and child care facilities with only an EMP or IRC certificate. Repairs of these areas need to be performed by someone who is RRPM licensed or UCCO certified as described below.

Starting on October 1, Vermont will be taking over the federal Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) regulations.  They will be called the Vermont Renovation, Repair, Painting and Maintenance (RRPM) regulations. The Health Department will oversee compliance with these regulations and will license individuals and firms that perform renovation, repair, painting, and maintenance work. For the most part, the new RRPM regulations are the same as the federal RRP regulations. However, there are some ways that the RRPM regulations are more restrictive.  To read more about the RRPM regulations and learn how to become RRPM licensed, visit the ALRP RRPM webpage: www.healthvermont.gov/RRPM.

Since 1985, we’ve helped thousands of clients buy and sell real estate in Northwest Vermont.  As the top-selling multi-family and rental property real estate Team in the State of Vermont, our goal is to provide you with the local insight, information, and resources necessary to make your purchase and/or sale a comfortable, informed and profitable experience. Contact us today to learn more about our above and beyond approach to buying or selling rental properties in Vermont.      

Vermont's Increasing Population

A covered bridge in Vermont with Fall Foliage

Many experienced real estate agents in Vermont, including those on our Team, will tell you that the past 2+ years have been unlike anything they have ever seen in their careers. 

Once Governor Phil Scott’s COVID-caused hard stop of all real estate transactions was lifted on April 20th, 2020, the real estate market has been characterized by unprecedented buyer demand in the form of multiple offers, cash deals with little to no contingencies and property value appreciation at rates nearly double that of local norms. 

Several local media sources published anecdotal accounts from Realtors all over the state stating that an influx of out-of-state buyers were suddenly bidding on Vermont property, increasing buyer competition and driving up prices.  Nevertheless, there was little data available to support the trend that Vermont was finally reversing the long-standing trend of negative net migration and a declining population.       

However, a recent article published on VTDigger.com asserts that the state of Vermont has welcomed nearly 5,000 new residents during the calendar year of 2020.  Citing a report published by the United States Census Bureau, the article suggests that an increase in remote workers and “climate change refugees” are two major forces driving the surge in population.  While there was no mention of whether or not a similar trend occurred in 2021, our local MLS statistics would imply another net increase is likely.

Click HERE to read the full article on VTDigger.com.   

Having been named as the top state to live in for the second year in a row by CNBC, Vermont continues to receive national attention for those looking for a change to their current living situation and lifestyle. Since 1985, we’ve helped thousands of clients buy and sell real estate in Northwest Vermont.  As the top-selling real estate Team in the State of Vermont, our goal is to provide you with the local insight, information and resources necessary to make your purchase and/or sale a comfortable, informed and enjoyable experience. Contact us today to learn more about our above and beyond approach to buying or selling property in Vermont.      

CityPlace Burlington Phase 2 Plans Revealed

An artistic rendering of CityPlace Burlington Phase 2 from Church Street

(Photo Credit: Seven Days)

In our latest blog post from earlier this month, we provided an update on the status of the long-stalled CityPlace Burlington Project; more specifically, the 3-acre parcel of land which was previously home to the Burlington Town Center Mall.  With that first phase of development now under complete control by local developers, many wondered what was to come to the surrounding buildings which remained co-owned by the original project developer, Don Sinex.

That subject was addressed during a recent meeting of the Ward 2 & 3 Neighborhood Planning Assembly, where attendees were treated to a sneak peak of the second phase of the project which includes the redevelopment of the remaining, intact parts of the old mall surrounding “the pit” as well as the building that used to be home to L.L. Bean. 

The concepts unveiled included a four-story, 15-unit apartment building with frontage on Church Street as well as a 12-story, 240-room hotel with an entrance that would be located on the newly built section of St. Paul Street.  Additionally, the plans also include two new restaurant venues (one of the first floor and another on the roof), underground parking for approximately 100 cars, multiple ground level retail spaces and a pedestrian walkway connecting Church Street to the proposed Phase 1 building located in between St. Paul and Pine Street. 

a schematic design of CityPlace Burlington Phase 2

(Photo Credit: Seven Days)

It was mentioned during the developer’s presentation that they expect to apply for the applicable zoning permits sometime in the near future.  The final piece of the project, Phase 3, will involve the redevelopment of the old Macy’s building which is currently the temporary home to Burlington High School.  With the uncertainty of when a new school facility will be ready to welcome students, the focus remains on beginning construction of phase 1 while at the same time applying for permits for the proposed concepts of phase 2.  

Since 1985, we’ve helped thousands of clients buy and sell real estate in Northwest Vermont.  Our goal is to provide you with the local insight, information and resources necessary to make your purchase and/or sale a comfortable, informed and enjoyable experience.  We will continue to update this ongoing story as new information is released…

Local Developers Now in Full Control of CityPlace Burlington

Photo by Alexandre Silberman/VTDigger

UPDATE:  Over eight years since he first unveiled the plans to redevelop the Burlington Town Center mall and five years since the old mall was demolished, developer Don Sinex has sold his remaining 50% share of the 3-acre parcel known acrimoniously as “the pit” to three local business partners who now have full ownership of the proposed CityPlace building site.

The local group consisting of Dave Farrington, Al Senecal and Scott Ireland, are now in talks to settle an outstanding lawsuit which many see as the final roadblock to acquiring the financing necessary for construction to finally begin.  The group, as well as Mayor Miro Weinberger, are hopeful that the new change in ownership represents a “major step” towards the long-delayed project from becoming a reality.

The timing of this deal is crucial, as an important development deadline is rapidly approaching this coming September.  As part of the development agreement, if construction begins before September 1st, City provided financing funds would be available to use for the rebuilding of two streets that were previously obstructed by the former mall building.  If construction has not been initiated by the deadline, the cost of rebuilding the roads falls directly onto the developers.  Although they have already approached the City about an extension to the deadline, City officials have declined to consider the request until “substantial progress” has been made toward breaking ground.

While the recent deal means that he is no longer associated with the land that will eventually be home to the 10-story CityPlace complex, Sinex does still share ownership of the intact remnants of the former mall with the same local partnership group.  No plans for those spaces have been officially announced as of yet; however, according to Sinex, there is a possibility that concepts and ideas could be discussed at upcoming Ward 2 & 3 neighborhood planning assembly meetings  For now, Farrington is optimistic that the project will proceed as planned, “We’re going to work.  Burlington’s going to see some action down there.”  

Since 1985, we’ve helped thousands of clients buy and sell real estate in Northwest Vermont.  Our goal is to provide you with the local insight, information and resources necessary to make your purchase and/or sale a comfortable, informed and enjoyable experience.  We will continue to update this ongoing story as new information is released…