2018 Renewal Process

Memorial Auditorium Presentation and Final Report


The City created an adaptive reuse plan for Memorial Auditorium to remain a publicly owned, public assembly space, based on input from stakeholders and the public. Stakeholder and community input were collected through community workshops, public tours, interviews, and a city-wide survey culminating in Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype, Inc.'s Final Report of Adaptive Reuse Plans (Historical Renovations & Additions) for Memorial Auditorium, which was presented in Burlington City Hall on December 6th, 2018. To create this adaptive re-use plan, we engaged consultants in the creation of conceptual designs, construction pricing, and financing options. Bargmann Hendrie created conceptual designs, Dedalus came up with construction pricing, and Jeff Glassberg created the financing options.

The Memorial PACC (Parks, Arts, and Culture Committee) Presentation (held on 12.6.2018) explains the community and stakeholder input collection and public approval process, the Memorial Auditorium floor and usage plans, the project and cost reports, and four realistic concept proposals the City has to choose from.

Memorial Auditorium – Survey Results


CEDO's process to determine the future of Memorial Auditorium - was guided by the community, planBTV, planBTV Downtown & Waterfront, City Administration, and by the principles of equity, participation, and transparency.  In 2018, CEDO commissioned The Center for Research & Public Policy (CRPP) to conduct a city-wide survey of Burlington residents to collect input regarding the renovation of Memorial Auditorium - for which 2,583 completed surveys were received. 

The results of this survey directly affected BH + A's Final Report Memorial Auditorium adaptive re-use plan, presented on December 6th, 2018. 


August 23, 2018: CRPP of Waterbury, VT, presented the following survey results: CRPP Survey Results Presentation - 8.23.2018


We heard from the community…


Over the past 20 to 30 years, the City’s Administrations and the community worked to keep Memorial Auditorium open and active, as can be seen by the reports, design charrettes, surveys, and ideas collected in the pages below. In September 2017, an All Wards NPA meeting was held concerning Memorial Auditorium. Here, two resolutions were passed: one advising City Council and the Mayor to maintain Memorial Auditorium as a publicly-owned community commons; and the second to empower and honor an NPA-led public process to determine future uses of Memorial. Throughout these public engagement processes, it was clear that restoring the building and preserving the use of Memorial as a public assembly space continue to be priorities in the Burlington community. 


We heard from the Mayor…


In December 2017, Mayor Weinberger issued a memorandum to the City Council noting the Memorial Auditorium has had a long history of serving as a valuable community assembly space and that there is great interest in knowing the City’s plans for determining how best to rehabilitate and steward this historic building for future generations to enjoy. In this memo, Mayor Weinberger outlined his proposed next steps to bring the building back to life: 

  • Create an adaptive reuse plan for Memorial Auditorium to remain a publicly-owned, public assembly space with input from stakeholders and members of the public.
  • Create conceptual designs, construction pricing, and financing options for this adaptive re-use plan that reflects that feedback and provides details on the cost and possible sources of funds.
  • Complete this plan so that it can be considered by the Council for a November 2018 ballot item.


planBTV provided guiding principles…


PlanBTV Downtown & Waterfront discussed Memorial Auditorium…

In the Main Street section, planBTV Downtown & Waterfront noted that the re-development of the block at the intersection of Main Street and South Winooski Avenue will help to act as both an anchor and gateway to the downtown. One goal in this section notes that this block could be transformed to create a more interesting and activated street, suggesting that the City should initiate a redevelopment study of the entire block, identifying potential uses/activities, physical obstacles, and constraints in the process. 


planBTV, Burlington’s “Municipal Development Plan,” presented a vision for land use and development in the city over the next 10- to 20-year period. It outlined goals and objectives for the future and is the  principal guide directing land use and policy decision-making. In considering a future for Memorial Auditorium, it was critical to be mindful of planBTV’s guiding principles: 

  • Support and strengthen our neighborhoods.
  • Concentrate mixed-use, high-density development within growth centers including the center city, neighborhood activity centers, and institutional core campuses.
  • Long-term protection and stewardship for natural areas and open space.
  • Lessen the dependence on the automobile by offering a range of transportation choices.
  • Respect for the city’s architectural and cultural history.
  • Support long-term solutions over short-term fixes to community needs and problems.
  • Promote collaboration and cooperation through working partnerships between governments, non-profits, institutions, and businesses.
  • Increased participation in decision-making.


Gathering the information for decision making...


To address and incorporate all of these considerations, CEDO worked with a consultant to:

  • Learn from people who have been involved in the operation and programming of Memorial Auditorium in the past. See a summary of the key points we heard, as well as summaries of individual interviews. We will be adding more interview summaries as available. 
  • Hear from people who are currently involved in those same activities today to understand their space needs. We’ll be sharing this summary of what we’ve heard soon.
  • Understand how other buildings similar to Memorial Auditorium are operated and programmed in other municipalities. See a summary of our findings

Our process - We...

  • Started with the core programming and uses that were in the building in the past or were suggested in past planning charrettes and meetings
  • Considered other building uses suggested from the public or through research on other such auditoriums through the country
  • Collected input from the public through NPA meetings, workshops, survey, etc. on preferred uses of Memorial
  • Issued an RFP to generate estimates of what it will cost to restore Memorial to the preferred uses identified
  • Outlined options for operating the building with associated costs
  • Developed suggested funding tools for consideration for a public vote TBA