BURLINGTON, Vt. – The City of Burlington has sent the development company behind CityPlace a default letter after learning Brookfield Properties wanted out of the stalled project.
Mayor Miro Weinberger said Brookfield Properties was notified on Saturday over concerns the company breached its development agreement.
“At the end of last week, it became clear that Brookfield is pursuing steps to abandon management of the project and return Don Sinex and his Devonwood Investors group to that role,” Weinberger said. “That result would be unacceptable to the city of Burlington because it would constitute a breach of faith and a betrayal of trust.”
Sinex and Devonwood Investors had been the original developer behind the CityPlace project, purchasing the eight blocks of downtown property back in 2013.
Over the past two years, Brookfield has made a string of public, private and written comments reaffirming their commitment to the project. The most recent came on June 4 in a letter sent to Mayor Weinberger.
With frustration over Brookfield’s handling of the project at a breaking point, Weinberger is giving the developer one last chance to prove itself.
“We will give developers a short window of time to return with an acceptable proposal moving forward with the project,” Weinberger said. “If an acceptable proposal is not forthcoming, I will protect the city’s interest and achieve the city’s long standing public goals for this project through aggressive legal action,” Weinberger said.
If the city were to file a lawsuit, it would seek at minimum ownership of the land, the reconnection of St. Paul Street and Pine Street, and damages for the developer’s failure to build the project in time to use tax increment financing (TIF). Weinberger said running past the TIF deadline would put the entire project at risk.
Brookfield Properties currently owns the land where the CityPlace Burlington project would be built. There has been no sign of progress on the scaled down, $120 million dollar project, since August of 2018.