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Burlington mayor visits CityPlace site as construction begins

Mayor Miro Weinberger with CityPlace developers. From left: David Farrington, Mayor Weinberger, Omega Electric Construction President Al Senecal and Scott Ireland
Pat Bradley
Mayor Miro Weinberger with CityPlace developers. From left: David Farrington, Mayor Weinberger, Omega Electric Construction President Al Senecal and Scott Ireland

Mayor Miro Weinberger and the developers of CityPlace in downtown Burlington, Vermont were at the site this morning as construction begins on the long-delayed project.

On November 1st the city council authorized an updated development agreement between the city and the new developers of the property, a trio of local construction companies. With permits in hand the construction is now beginning.

The plywood attached to fencing that has blocked the view for over two years of what local residents have been calling “The Pit” has been removed. Heavy equipment is now preparing the site for a concrete foundation.

Mayor Miro Weinberger visited the site Tuesday morning.

“It’s a big day," the mayor said. "For the first time in more than four years construction activity is moving forward again on this site and with it the hopes that the community has had for hundreds of new homes, for dozens of new jobs and new retail around this block and reconnecting streets that have been lost since urban renewal in the 1960’s and towards strengthening the city financially and the school district with vast new tax revenues flowing into the city and the state. This project stopped in 2018 when the demolition stopped and today you can see things are moving forward again.”

The Democrat says part of the reason he stopped by the site is to familiarize the media, and therefore the public, on how the project is moving forward. CityPlace partner and President of Farrington Construction Company David Farrington described the plan.

“Basically there’s two buildings on the site," Farrington said. "There’s going to be a U-shaped building, that’s what we’re calling the North Building. It’s going to have retail all the way around the street level. And then the next level above retail it’ll turn over to residential housing. Over on this west side, that’s the wing that they’re going to be building the affordable inclusionary units. And then there’s a standalone building that’s going in over here with retail at the street. There’s going to be one floor of commercial space which is going to be a combination of office and then some community space and then at the top floor of the South Building there’ll be a public observation area as well as a restaurant.”

With schematic drawings in hand, the mayor, developers and reporters walked across the property as Dave Farrington pointed out to Weinberger where city streets will be reconnected.

“The city’s 60-foot right-of-way it actually goes right underneath the building," Farrington said. "Pine Street is going to pass right underneath that archway and then it’s going to take a little kick.”

“Have you ever built a road through a building before?” asks Mayor Weinberger.

CityPlace partner and S.D. Ireland Construction President Scott Ireland plans to begin pouring the concrete foundation on December 1st and work through the winter so that construction on the buildings can begin in mid-May.

“Every major foundation in the city of Burlington in the last 20 years the concrete in most cases was done in the winter, with the exception of the courthouse," Ireland said. "It’s just all about protective heat and protecting concrete. It has no effect on quality and it keeps the team busy.”

The targeted completion date of the City Place project is November 2025.

The current budget is $200 million.

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