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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, 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  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…