Weinberger urges City Council to approve settlement at Special Meeting he has called for Tuesday
Vermont Business Magazine Mayor Miro Weinberger announced today that he and the Developer of CityPlace Burlington have negotiated an amendment to the proposed Amended and Restated (A&R) Development Agreement, which secures further benefits for the workers who will construct the project. In response to this amendment, the Vermont Building and Construction Trades Council has announced its support for the proposed settlement agreement and the project. Now, after the City Council voted to table its approval of these agreements, Mayor Weinberger has called a Special Meeting of the City Council for February 23, and he urges the Council to approve the agreements at this meeting.
“In this settlement agreement, the City Council has an opportunity to fix a historic challenge and ensure that a vibrant neighborhood and connected streets will return to the heart of our downtown,” said Mayor Weinberger. “I am appreciative that the Developer came back to the table to negotiate this additional point and agreed to formally codify its intention to pay all of the construction workers on the site prevailing wages, and that the Building and Construction Trades Council has now announced its strong support for the project. I also am appreciative of City Councilors Karen Paul and Brian Pine for their hard work and collaborative efforts over the last few weeks to help the City, Developer, and Trades Council find common ground. This agreement delivers substantial benefits to both Burlington and hundreds of construction workers.”
“CityPlace Burlington represents an enormous opportunity for Vermont construction workers, and the Developer’s commitment to pay prevailing wages guarantees that all workers on the job will be compensated well,” said Tim LaBombard, President of the Vermont Building and Construction Trades Council. “We can’t wait to get to work on this outstanding project.”
“The local partners in this development have excellent records of paying well and keeping their workers safe,” said Dave Farrington, owner of Farrington Construction and an investor in CityPlace Burlington. “Our intention has always been to make sure that is the spirit of this entire project, and we are happy to formally make that commitment.”
“While maintaining management and control over our project, we are delighted to further commit to pay the Prevailing Wage rates to all construction workers at our project and our team looks forward to working with all trades in Burlington to produce an outstanding project that will provide so many wonderful benefits to the City and all its citizens,” said Don Sinex, the managing member of the CityPlace Burlington development team.
Developer commits to pay Vermont Prevailing Wage to all CityPlace construction workers
Over the last week, the Developer of CityPlace Burlington and Mayor Weinberger negotiated additional labor requirements. These additional commitments are now incorporated into the proposed A&R Development Agreement as Exhibit L. [Please see attached the full A&R Development Agreement as well as a document that summarizes the changes].
With this new amendment, the Developer commits to paying the Vermont Prevailing Wage for construction workers for the Burlington area as published by the State of Vermont. The prevailing wage rate is established to support the hiring of skilled local construction workers and to ensure that workers are paid fairly and in a timely manner. This amendment further contains new detail about how the developer will establish an open, transparent, and fair hiring and bidding process throughout the construction of the project.
The A&R Development Agreement also reaffirms the developer’s commitment to follow the City’s Livable Wage Ordinance, classify employees properly, participate in apprenticeship programs where applicable, and hire workers according to several preferential objectives.
Mayor urges approval of settlement agreement at Special Meeting of the City Council
Mayor Weinberger has called a Special Meeting of the City Council for Tuesday, February 23, so that the City Council can consider approval of the settlement agreement, which includes the A&R Development Agreement.
“I urge the City Council to approve the settlement agreement this week,” said Mayor Weinberger. “Failure to do so would mean that, for the first time since the project construction began in 2017, City actions would be delaying construction on the site. A vote against the settlement agreement is a vote to risk years of additional delay on a project that the voters want built immediately, and a vote for the settlement agreement is to bring resolution and historic improvement to this part of downtown Burlington.”
If the Burlington City Council fails to approve the settlement agreement, there would be immediate impacts to the project schedule. The developers are seeking a zoning permit from the Development Review Board at its March 3 meeting, and an approved A&R Development Agreement is necessary for the DRB to approve that permit.
Further, if the City Council does not approve the settlement agreement, the only viable alternative will be for the City to continue its lawsuit. Pursuing ongoing litigation would likely require great expense, has the potential for years of further delay, and holds no assurance that the City would secure a better result than it will receive under the proposed settlement.
Background on settlement agreement
The proposed settlement agreement results from mediation between the City and the Developer. During mediation, Mayor Weinberger personally led the City’s negotiations with the Developer, who was represented by managing member Don Sinex. The Mayor also discussed the negotiations with the City Council before and during talks.
On February 5, 2021, Mayor Weinberger announced a settlement with the Developer of CityPlace Burlington. The settlement secures multiple benefits for the people of Burlington – including guaranteeing the reconnection of the City’s lost streets, recouping lost property taxes, renewing the developer’s commitments to affordable housing and renewable energy, continuing to protect taxpayers from all financial risk, and allowing the developer to advance a transformational project.
Source: Burlington 2.22.2021. Office of Mayor Miro Weinberger burlingtonvt.gov/Mayor