Redstone drops suits against CityPlace and City of Burlington

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Redstone drops suits against CityPlace and City of Burlington

Fri, 07/16/2021 - 4:59pm -- tim
Rendering of future CityPlace at Cherry and St Paul by architects Freeman Frnech Freeman.

100 Bank (Redstone) dismissed the City of Burlington and Burlington Development Review Board (DRB) with Prejudice from all Claims, Agreement Clears Path for Transformational CityPlace Project 

by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine Today, Mayor Miro Weinberger announced that following two days of mediation, the City of Burlington, 100 Bank LLC (Redstone), and BTC Mall Associates LLC (BTC) have reached a global settlement where all suits and appeals already have been or will be dropped, clearing a path for the major mixed-used CityPlace development (BTC) and reconnected streets to move forward, and releasing all Burlington Development Review Board members and city employees from any claim of inappropriate action. 100 Bank will get $400,000 in the settlement.

Part of the overall project will reconnect Pine and St Paul streets, which were segmented when the original downtown mall was built 40 years ago. The agreement will allow a tunnel to be built under Redstone's 100 Bank Street building.

The major part of the development will redevelop the mall, much of which was torn down in 2018.

The scaled-back and redesigned, $160 million project will include 426 apartments, 45,000 square feet of retail and 422 parking spaces for a total of 700,000 square feet.

Gone is the vast commercial office space that would have been occupied largely by the University of Vermont Medical Center. A possible hotel also has been removed from the plans.

Instead of the original 14-story proposal, the new building will rise nine stories. The new concept relies much more heavily on the housing component.

The original design was valued at $225 million and 1.2 million square feet. The retail and office space have been substantially scaled back.

The new design includes 45,000 square feet of street level retail and a garage with 422 parking spots.

BTC maintains that the project needs to begin construction by September 21 so the city still qualifies for $8 million to $10 million in TIF (tax increment financing) for public infrastructure improvements. TIF money will be used to pay the $400,000 to 100 Bank.

“I initiated and led this mediation because it was clear that Redstone and the developers of CityPlace were on a path of serious and deepening disagreement that threatened to delay or terminate the long-anticipated, transformative downtown project,” said Mayor Weinberger. “As a result of two full days of good faith negotiations, I am pleased to announce that we have reached a global settlement ensuring that we can re-knit the St. Paul and Pine Street corridors as voters envisioned, and that progress can continue on the CityPlace development to bring new jobs, new public revenues, and hundreds of much-needed homes to Burlington.  I am grateful that the two sides set aside their differences and worked hard to get to this agreement that will do so much good for the community.  I also want to thank the mediator Kurt Dettman for his service that, once again, has helped us forge important progress for the downtown.” 

This week, 100 Bank LLC voluntarily dismissed all claims against the City of Burlington and its employees, and the Burlington Development Review Board (DRB) and its members with prejudice. 100 Bank has also filed a stay of its appeal of BTC’s permit to construct CityPlace and committed to permanently dismissing that appeal once all definitive documents regarding this settlement have been drafted and executed. 

“I want to thank Mayor Weinberger for his extraordinary efforts to bring the parties together,” said Erik Hoekstra, Managing Partner of Redstone.  “We are happy that we could move beyond our differences to reach an agreement that puts the interests of the community first.  As long-time collaborators with the City of Burlington, we hope to see the downtown area continue to become even more dynamic and vibrant.”  

Don Sinex, on behalf of BTC, stated that “BTC is greatly appreciative of the Mayor’s efforts in arranging, leading and successfully concluding the mediation sessions, which resulted in a global settlement of all issues raised in the various law suits filed by 100 Bank. As soon as the definitive legal documents are executed by all parties and the law suits are withdrawn by 100 Bank, BTC will immediately restart all efforts to get the long awaited CityPlace project underway. This result is a wonderful achievement that would not have been possible without the Mayor’s assistance, dedication, and resolve.”

Per the agreement, the City of Burlington agrees to provide 100 Bank LLC up to 200 parking permits (at the City’s prevailing monthly rates) in either the Lakeview or College Street parking garages for an initial 5 year term with the option to renew, subject to approval by the Public Works Commission. For rights to the land at the 100 Bank property needed to complete the planned Pine Street improvements, the City agrees to compensate 100 Bank approximately $400,000 (to be paid by Burlington’s waterfront TIF district if the development moves forward consistently with the City’s Amended and Restated Development Agreement), subject to change following the completion of a final survey and City Council approval -- which will be likely be sought at the August 9 City Council meeting. 

Additional details of the global settlement:  

·         The new MOU between the City, BTC, and 100 Bank does not necessitate amendment to the Amended and Restated Development Agreement that was negotiated by the Mayor with BTC and approved by the Burlington City Council in February 2021.  

·         The land where the City requires a permanent easement for the construction of a road and sidewalk consists of approximately 4,000 square feet of 100 Bank’s property .  

·         BTC, the City, and 100 Bank jointly agree to a number of terms supporting coordination of all future construction.  

·         Upon the execution of the definitive agreements between the three parties, all parties agree to dismiss the remaining court actions with prejudice. 

·         The definitive easement agreements remains subject to approval by the City Council and, with respect to the investment of TIF proceeds, the Vermont Economic Progress Council.

Source: 7.16.2021. Burlington, VT – Office of Mayor Miro Weinberger