Will Other Chittenden County Shopping Areas Redevelop?

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In Consumer Matters, most people appreciate a clean, well maintained place to shop.  And with places like the Burlington Town Center and University Mall talking a re-vamp, you might be wondering what else is in store.

At Maple Tree Place in Williston, there are 38 shops, restaurants and businesses in the outdoor marketplace.  Despite the high number, there are still some vacant store-fronts.  So do local leaders feel it’s time to change things up?

In an age where on-line shopping has become more popular, brick and mortar stores looking for any advantage.  Places including Burlington Town Center and University Mall have plans to redevelop, but what about other shopping centers in Chittenden County?  “My understanding is that by and large most of the businesses in the Taft Corners area are doing pretty well,” said Ken Belliveau, Williston’s Planning and Zoning Director.

Belliveau says Maple Tree Place is an economic driver for the town.  It’s helped Williston become the number one community for taxable retail sales in the state.  “It means there’s a selection of goods and services that people can get here, that a lot of other parts of the state would be envious of,” stated Belliveau.

Despite having a 10 to 15 percent vacancy rate, Belliveau says it’s not alarming, “The Maple Tree Place area, the Taft Corners area is a part of town that is still in the process of developing.”

In Essex, Greg Morgan feels the same about the Essex Outlets.  “This is an area that is more and more becoming a mixed-use neighborhood.  Years ago when the commercial part was established, the residential part hadn’t been built yet.  Now it’s being built,” stated Morgan, Chair of the Essex Economic Development Commission.

He believes the outlets have the shopping base to be successful.  “This is a destination for people in Essex, but I also believe Colchester, Williston and others,” Morgan said.

Morgan says there are no immediate plans to re-vamp the outlets, but it is an area he hopes will be included in a new master-plan for the town.  Morgan and Belliveau don’t expect anything to change soon, but it doesn’t mean it won’t.  “As we move forward in time, is it 5 years 10 years 15 years from now, will maple tree place change in some way, I fully expect that it will,” said Belliveau.

Local 22/Local 44 reached out to the property management companies of both Essex Outlets and Maple Tree Place to learn more about the futures of both retail areas.  Neither group returned our calls.

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