- Associated Press - Monday, October 20, 2014

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - The financially troubled Burlington College is planning to sell 25 acres of land along the Lake Champlain waterfront as a way to help relieve its debt.

The college would sell the land for $7 million by the end of the year to a developer who would build both senior housing and market-rate housing, including single-family homes, near the lakefront in the Vermont city.

Some of the buildings could be as high as five stories, but they would not block the college’s view of the lake.

Interim President Michael Smith told the Burlington Free Press (http://bfpne.ws/1ySHZqo ) the college would retain 7.3 acres of land near its existing headquarters on Burlington’s North Avenue.

The college has a total debt of $11.4 million and is “maxed out” on borrowing, Smith said. The current debt service for Fiscal 2015 is $735,000, far more than the college can handle on a $5 million budget.

“Absent doing something with the land, the future is tenuous,” said Smith.

Smith says the deal would not eliminate Burlington College’s financial troubles, but it would provide time to grow.

Most of the debt resulted from the college’s 2010 purchase of the land from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, which sold the land to pay to settlements in priest sex abuse lawsuits.

A provision of the deal would allow the college to the sell the land to conservationists or preservationists able to pay more than the $7 million.

Burlington College had 174 undergraduate students and 14 graduate students this fall.

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