Increased Development in South Burlington

Published 05/16 2014 09:25PM

Updated 05/16 2014 10:14PM

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - On Friday, the opening of Trader Joe's was celebrated by city leaders in South Burlington.

They hope this is just the beginning of more business development here.

Trader Joe's took years of work and lots of hurdles to clear before it opened. Now city leaders say it's the beginning of even bigger things to come.

Drive up and down Dorset Street in South Burlington and you'll see several projects underway including new stores and a hotel.

"There's a lot going on right now. It's early in the year and we expect a lot more to be coming as the year unfolds," says Kevin Dorn, city manager of South Burlington.

Dorn says there's been an uptick in construction permits issued so this year. The value of that construction is 30-percent more than last year, about eleven million dollars.

One of the next big things is the reconstruction of Market Street. City leaders hope this 5.5-million dollar project could help transform the city.

The street would be part of a plan called City Center, which calls for developing a downtown-like area.

"The people of the City of South Burlington have wanted their own downtown identity, focal point, their own place to go and hang out, or to have community events. City Center as it's designed will deliver that to them," says Dorn.

Dorn isn't exactly sure what's behind the increased development activity.

The city's controversial interim-zoning rules expired in February. It basically slowed potential projects, though it's unclear what part that played.

"I think there have been a fair number of projects in queue in South Burlington but the economy is improving, certainly in this area, and there's a lot of interest in City Center," says Dorn.

With all this development, the city says it is concerned about traffic. Planning for that and for City Center is already underway.

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