Finally, construction begins at CityPlace Burlington | News | Seven days

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  • Courtney Lambin©️ Seven days
  • Mayor Miro Weinberger (second from left) and the CityPlace Burlington team

For the first time in five years, there is movement at the Pit.

CityPlace Burlington, the long-running project in the center of downtown Burlington, was an active construction site Tuesday morning. A team of helmeted workers was busy at the entrance to the site, along Bank Street. An excavator scraped mounds of dirt as dump trucks drove past, at one point prompting a group of reporters to rush in.

For Mayor Miro Weinberger, it was the sights and sounds of progress after years of delay.

“I’ve always believed in this project, he says. “This is what we need to make our downtown healthy and vibrant for decades to come.”

The business was a milestone for CityPlace, which has weathered legal battles, ownership changes and reshuffles since its first proposal in 2014. At that time, then-owner Don Sinex pledged to replace the old downtown Burlington mall with two 14-storey retail towers, apartments and a hotel. It began demolishing the mall in 2017, but little has happened to the site since, earning it the derisive nickname “the pit”.

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The CityPlace construction site - COURTNEY LAMDIN ©️ SEVEN DAYS

  • Courtney Lambin©️ Seven days
  • City Place construction site

Sinex sold its shares in the project in May to three local businessmen: Dave Farrington of Farrington Construction, Al Senecal of Omega Electric Construction and Scott Ireland of SD Ireland, all of whom joined the mayor on Tuesday morning to outline their plans.

When completed, CityPlace will consist of two approximately 10-storey buildings with 427 apartments, including affordable housing that will be managed by the Champlain Housing Trust. Plans call for ground-level retail, 422 parking spaces, a rooftop restaurant and an observation deck.

On Tuesday, crews were preparing for a new foundation, which will be poured by December 1. Construction will continue through the winter, with the goal of completing the so-called “South Building” on Bank Street in 2024.

The U-shaped “North Building” on Cherry Street, which includes the CHT units, would be completed by summer 2025. At that time, work would begin to rebuild portions of St. Paul and Pine Streets which have been separated from the city network by the old shopping centre. The developers aim to complete construction by November 2025.

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However, the partners still do not have funding for the entire project. Farrington said the team is “committed” to funding the south building, but is discussing “with potential co-development partners” funding for the north building. Champlain Housing Trust is separately seeking funding for the affordable housing portion.

Farrington estimates a total construction cost of $200 million.

He thanked the mayor’s office and fellow partners for initiating the project.

“It’s been seven months and a lot of meetings,” Farrington said. “We get a to-do list and we break it down, and just break it down and do it. And that’s how this project is going to keep moving forward.”

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CityPlace Partner Dave Farrington and Mayor Miro Weinberger - COURTNEY LAMDIN ©️ SEVEN DAYS

  • Courtney Lambin©️ Seven days
  • CityPlace Partner Dave Farrington and Mayor Miro Weinberger

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