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Burlington businesses celebrate progress on CityPlace project

Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 5:40 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A big step forward for CityPlace. Tuesday night, the Burlington City Council unanimously approved a settlement agreement between the city and the developer.

So what does this mean for surrounding businesses?

People in the Queen City hospitality industry tell me they’re excited to see construction begin after years of staring at a dirt hole.

“It’s definitely been the hot topic of conversation,” said Christina DeMag who owns Jubilance Salon.

The salon sits right across the street from the hole at CityPlace. DeMag says it hasn’t helped with business.

“You have the hole and then you have got COVID happening-- I think it just draws people away from wanting to come downtown,” she said.

But with CityPlace getting the greenlight to proceed, area business people have hope for the first time in a long time.

“I’m thrilled,” DeMag said.

Restaurants are, too. Joe Carton of Westport Hospitality runs Juniper and Bleu near the future CityPlace.

“I think it’s a good project from the get-go. Certainly, it had to get reorganized and restructured but it’s the right thing for Burlington,” Carton said.

After years of changes and delays, Tuesday night the City Council unanimously approved the settlement agreement. Next week, the project seeks a new zoning permit.

The approval will guarantee construction on public improvements, including reconnecting Pine and St. Paul streets within the next two years.

In addition, the agreement also secures commitments from the developer to hire several hundred diverse local construction workers and to pay them fairly.

“I think it’s going to give folks a real boost to know that the CityPlace project can move forward,” said Kelly Devine of the Burlington Business Association.

The version is scaled-down from the original proposal and includes no office space, no hotel and less retail space. But with about 400 apartments, it does guarantee more people downtown.

“There will be enough vibrancy for the existing businesses and more if we could get those apartments filled,” Devine said.

“Having the residents here and the different business, it will be a nice change,” DeMag said.

Funding still needs to be secured but officials are hopeful construction will get started again this year.

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