- Associated Press - Thursday, May 7, 2015

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - City officials unveiled new plans to redevelop Burlington Town Center after making changes based on input from nearly a thousand residents.

Architects from a firm in New York presented plans for the $200 million project at a public meeting on Tuesday night at City Hall, The Burlington Free Press reported (https://bfpne.ws/1Ekhwj6 ).

The renovated mall would include new housing, office and retail space and a 90,000-square-foot park on the roof of the mall. The project includes 300,000-square-feet of housing, which would be built in a 14-story tower, if the city agrees to the zoning change that would be required.

Current zoning rules limit downtown building height to 65 feet, with so-called “bonuses” available that could raise the height to as much as 105 feet. The 14-story building would be 150 feet high and the tallest structure in downtown Burlington.

The Mall’s new owner, Don Sinex, said he dropped plans for a new hotel and convention center because there wasn’t enough public support.

“We think the design is both bold and invigorating,” Sinex said. “I know from a financial point of view we’ll refresh, revitalize and strengthen the downtown. We can do without the hotel.”

The Mall’s design also allows room for a Target, if Sinex is successful in convincing the retailer to come to Vermont. Target topped the list of tenants members of the public said they wanted to see in the mall.

City officials said Wednesday the project remains in the early planning stages and will be subject to extensive review. Peter Owens, director of the city’s Community and Economic Development Office, said Sinex’s team and the city have not yet reached a financial agreement.

“We haven’t formalized what he’s expecting from the city, and what the city’s expecting from him,” Owens said.

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Information from: The Burlington Free Press, https://www.burlingtonfreepress.com

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