BURLINGTON, Vt.- “With the cost of things going up, as they do every year we’re always faced with the possibility of having to raise common area fees,” said Ecco Clothing Boutique Owner Lara Heath Allen.
In 2016, Church Street Marketplace properties would pay 1.5% more on their Common Area Fee to maintain the upkeep along the Marketplace.
In a vote Wednesday morning, the Marketplace Commission passed this proposed rate hike.
The increase only affects the 35 property owners along the Marketplace. It does not affect other property owners in the city.
Right now, businesses pay $2.80 per square foot. Next year, the fee increases by 4 cents.
Some businesses have not had to pay this fee- they’re called anchor properties, which are larger than 20,000 square feet.
This includes Outdoor Gear Exchange and Burlington Town Center.
Beginning in 2004, the Commission began working with property owners of 37 Church and 49 Church to gradually increase their common area fees.
The Marketplace Commission wants to phase out the anchor exemption by 2017.
“I think as an anchor tenant where our increase is actually more significant than everyone else’s, but fortunately, we have the business to support that increase,” said Outdoor Gear Exchange owner, Marc Sherman.
Other businesses on the street are confident the increase won’t hurt their business, and instead may just do the opposite.
“We have this street that we want to keep special…we sort of have a higher bar, higher expectations…we want things to be clean, safe and fun as we say down here,” said Heath Allen.