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Mayor Miro Weinberger Announces Slate of Public Investment Action Plan Projects for Waterfront TIF District

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 13, 2014
Contact:  Mike Kanarick
                 802.735.7962

Mayor Miro Weinberger Announces Slate of Public Investment Action Plan Projects for Waterfront TIF District
Slate Will Strengthen Waterfront, Resolve Future of Moran, and Increase Public Access and Use

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today announced the slate of Public Investment Action Plan (PIAP) projects for the Waterfront Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District that will strengthen existing waterfront resources, resolve the uncertainty surrounding the future of Moran, and increase public access and use of the waterfront.  In an Open Letter to the People of Burlington, the Mayor shared his selection of the following six PIAP projects in support of which the City plans to invest $9.6 million in TIF funds to leverage an additional $33 million of direct investment:

  • New Moran: up to $6.3 million for a mixed-use redevelopment of the building with a focus on green energy innovation, local foods, and a multi-purpose arts and events space, including $4.2 million of new TIF investment and reauthorization of $2.1 million in previously approved investment.  (The New Moran website is live.)
  • Waterfront Park Upgrades: $800,000 for improved electrical and water infrastructure to enhance Vermont’s most visited public park. 
  • Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center: $500,000 to support site improvements for a permanent home and new building for the Community Sailing Center.
  • Burlington Harbor Marina: $500,000 to create a marina on our northern waterfront to meet the burgeoning need for boats slips in our harbor. 
  • ECHO Sustainability Park: $500,000 to support creation of new outdoor amenities, educational installations, and lake protection facilities on land surrounding ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain.
  • Waterfront Access North: $500,000 for increased access to the northern waterfront, landscaping, environmental remediation, lake protection, and utility relocation.  
  • The proposed total TIF authorization also includes $500,000 to support the City’s management of the TIF district during the years ahead of project implementation.

“The slate of projects I am submitting to the City Council today will strengthen and improve the most beloved current features of the waterfront, resolve the long-standing uncertainty about the future of the Moran plant and surrounding property, and increase public access and use of the waterfront and Lake Champlain,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger.  “The City is fortunate to be able to make these public investments to create jobs and grow municipal and state revenues without impacting the tax rates of local property owners.”

At today’s announcement at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, the Mayor was joined by members of the project proposal teams and the public, as well as by Bill Truex, Chair of the PIAP Public Investment Team (PIT), and other PIT members who worked for months to review and score the proposed projects.  Additionally, City Councilors Max Tracy (P-Ward 2) and Dave Hartnett (D-Ward 4) and State Representative Kurt Wright (R-Chittenden-6-1) spoke at the event.

Bill Truex, Chair of the Public Investment Action Plan, Principal at Truex Cullins & Partners, Co-Founder of the Church Street Marketplace
“This is an exciting and optimistic time for the City of Burlington.  The development resulting from the Public Investment Action Plan has the potential to transform the waterfront much like the Church Street Marketplace transformed the downtown."

City Councilor Max Tracy (P-Ward 2)
“I am excited to be here today to support the Mayor’s Public Investment Action Plan slate.  And I’m pleased to report that the process has lived up to the ‘public’ reference in its name – I’m most excited about the fact that the proposed slate of projects maintains public ownership of the City’s valuable waterfront resources, including the Moran building and the surrounding land.  Such public ownership will provide Burlingtonians with continued access to our waterfront treasures for generations to come.”

City Councilor Dave Hartnett (D-Ward 4)
“I am pleased that the Mayor's PIAP slate will resolve the long-standing uncertainty about the future of the Moran building and site, that the Administration is exercising great care with City dollars, and that the City's TIF investments are being used to expand Burlington’s marina and leverage private investment.  We have come a long way in our thinking about the future of the waterfront in the last couple years, and I am excited to see the PIAP slate implemented over the next two.”

State Representative Kurt Wright (R-Chittenden-6-1)
“It is important to finally decide what direction we want to go with the Moran Plant.  I enthusiastically endorse the Mayor’s PIAP slate both from my perspective as a New North End resident who wants the waterfront to be a wonderful community amenity and economic engine and as a state representative who has been involved in the many conversations about effective state TIF policy.  These waterfront improvements will lead to job creation, generate important municipal and state revenues, and ensure that taxpayers are protected.”

*Please see following documents below or attached:

  • Open Letter to the People of Burlington from Mayor Miro Weinberger, January 13, 2014 (below)
  • PIAP Project Summaries Document (below)
  • PIAP Tax Increment Financing Allocation Summary Document (below)
  • Map of Mayor’s Proposed PIAP Project Slate – map is attached (attached PDF)
  • For more information about the PIAP process, please visit this link on the CEDO website.
  • To view elements of the final proposals, please visit this link on the CEDO website.

# # #

 

January 13, 2014

Open Letter to the People of Burlington,

Happy New Year!

Thank you again for your trust and support over the last 21 months – we will be working hard to continue making good on that confidence throughout 2014.

This past year included two of the most inclusive and transparent planning processes our City has ever attempted: PlanBTV and the Public Investment Action Plan (PIAP).  PlanBTV, a vision of the future worthy of our dynamic, vibrant, committed City, involved two years’ research, more than 100 public events, with more than 1,200 participants from our community – residents, workers, business, and nonprofits, and resulted in an award-winning plan.  PIAP – an implementation effort designed to move PlanBTV elements from concept to reality – generated 120 initial proposals that have been winnowed to nine detailed final proposals.

Together, these two initiatives have generated new ideas and energy, and clarified our current opportunities for progress in the City’s long-term effort to reclaim the waterfront from its historic, industrial past.  Today, I am pleased to announce my support for a slate of six projects totaling up to $7.5 million in new Tax Increment Financing (TIF) investment plus $2.1 million in reauthorized TIF investment. 

Collectively, this slate of investments will accomplish a number of key waterfront goals, without impacting municipal property tax rates

  • Strengthen existing waterfront resources.  The slate includes investments in beloved elements of today’s waterfront: the Community Sailing Center, ECHO, and Waterfront Park.
  • Resolve the use of the abandoned Moran site.  The proposed slate will both determine the use of the land immediately surrounding the Moran building, and define a path to near-term resolution of the future of the building.
  • Increase public access and use of the waterfront and Lake Champlain.  All proposed projects include public elements that will bring more residents and visitors to the waterfront.  Some projects include features that will increase the public’s access to the lake itself.
  • Protect Lake Champlain and continue Burlington’s leadership in water quality efforts.  The proposed projects include important new public infrastructure that will protect Lake Champlain from stormwater run-off, improve public education about lake protection, and continue Burlington’s leadership on stormwater issues.
  • Leverage additional investment that creates economic opportunity and grows City revenues.  The proposed $9.6 million of project investments are conceptually anticipated to leverage approximately $33 million of non-municipal direct investment.  In addition, municipal tax revenues are projected to grow annually, with indirect economic activity increasing by $15 million.

I am respectfully requesting that the City Council approve ballot language supporting the following slate of public investments at their January 27, 2014 meeting, and that Burlington voters approve this item on Town Meeting Day.  The proposed slate consists of the following projects:

  • New Moran: up to $6.3 million for a mixed-use redevelopment of the building with a focus on green energy innovation, local foods, and a multi-purpose arts and events space.  The proposed investment includes $4.2 million of new TIF investment and reauthorization of a $2.1 million investment previously approved by the City Council in 2011.  Key elements of this investment include:
    • New Moran will be developed and managed by a new, independent non-profit that will assume the project’s pre-development, construction, and operating risk.  The City will invest its TIF funds only after the New Moran team has secured tenants and the balance of the financing for the approximately $25 million project and taken steps to guarantee the long-term financial viability of the project.
    • The local New Moran team has presented a proposal that represents an exciting vision for the building – arguably the most exciting vision proposed in 30 years of redevelopment efforts – and has garnered an enormous amount of support from other significant, credible, local individuals and organizations.
    • The New Moran proposal represents the last hope for the many Burlingtonians who, like me, see value in the existing structure and would like to see it redeveloped successfully.
    • The New Moran team’s plan is ambitious, complex, will take time to accomplish, and success is not guaranteed.  Because we cannot return to the years of uncertainty and minimal progress that marked the last redevelopment effort, my support for New Moran is conditioned on the team achieving critical milestones and demonstrating steady progress
    • After three decades of efforts, it is time to resolve the uncertainty regarding the future of the northern waterfront.  If New Moran proves infeasible, it will be time to acknowledge that the building has become an obstacle to waterfront progress.  In the proposed PIAP ballot language, I am requesting the authority from voters for resolution: in the event the Administration and City Council determine that New Moran cannot be completed in a timely manner, the City will use TIF funds to demolish the building. 
    • A vote for the PIAP slate is a vote for resolution of the Moran building and site.
       
  • Waterfront Park Upgrades: $800,000 for improved electrical and water infrastructure to enhance Vermont’s most visited public park.  These Waterfront Park upgrades will enable the City to better serve waterfront events while mitigating the impacts of events on neighbors and other users of the park and Bike Path.
     
  • Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center (CSC): $500,000 to support site improvements for a permanent home and new building for the CSC.  It is time for the 20-year-old Community Sailing Center to have a permanent home on the waterfront.  The proposed TIF investment will leverage approximately $4.5 million of independent investment by the Sailing Center and allow the Sailing Center to expand its programs and services that allow hundreds of Vermonters from all backgrounds to enjoy the Lake every summer.

     

  • Burlington Harbor Marina: $500,000 to create a marina on our northern waterfront to meet the burgeoning need for boats slips in our harbor.  The proposed TIF investment will leverage approximately $4.5 million in private investment, create jobs, and generate substantial new revenues to the City.   The proposed marina would include public piers stretching into Lake Champlain, and serve as breakwater protection for both the marina and Community Sailing Center.  The proposal also includes public bathrooms, a variety of currently lacking marina amenities, and water taxi service to increase public access along the entire waterfront.  
     
  • ECHO Sustainability Park: $500,000 to support creation of new outdoor amenities, educational installations, and lake protection facilities on land surrounding ECHO.  New plantings, a boardwalk extension, stormwater mitigation, and educational installations all would be constructed in a first phase of what ultimately is envisioned to be an approximately $3.8 million enhancement to the ECHO site, with the balance to be funded without further direct City investment.
  • Waterfront Access North: $500,000 for increased access to the northern waterfront, landscaping, environmental remediation, lake protection, and utility relocation.   Waterfront Access North currently is in construction after support by the voters last fall.  This additional investment will enable the project to support the use of the Moran site, a permanent home for the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center, and a marina.
     
  • The proposed total TIF authorization also includes $500,000 to support the City’s management of the TIF district during the years ahead of project implementation. 

The Perkins Pier Marina and the Cherry Street Promenade PIAP proposals are both exciting, important projects that the City will continue to explore.  However, because of limited funding and timing considerations, those projects are not being included in my recommended PIAP slate at this time.

One year ago, we could not have anticipated the extraordinary amount of energy, creativity, and partnership created by the Public Investment Action Plan.  I want to thank the hundreds of Burlingtonians who participated in the PIAP process, the members of the Public Investment Team, and the many City employees who worked very hard to get us to this point.  I have never been more excited about the future of our great City.

Sincerely,

 

Miro Weinberger
Mayor

 

Public Investment Action Plan – Project Summaries

The City will invest up to $7.5 million in new Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and reauthorize an additional $2.1 million in previously allocated dollars.  TIF investments do not impact municipal property taxes, and all TIF allocations are contingent upon each project meeting certain progress milestones.  Future reallocations are possible based on project progress. 

New Moran

Project Leads:                                                  Room 9 Redevelopment and the Charles Tipper Co.
Total Project Cost:                                          $26 million
TIF allocation:                                                  $6.3 million*
Projected Job Totals:                                      70 FTE and 79 PT
Direct Annual Economic Impact:                 $5,904,280
Indirect Annual Economic Impact:              $9,320,300

The local New Moran team has developed a proposal that represents an exciting vision for the building – arguably the most exciting vision proposed in 30 years of redevelopment efforts – and has garnered an enormous amount of support from other significant, credible, local individuals and organizations.  New Moran is a mixed-use redevelopment of the Moran Plant building with a focus on local foods, a multi-use performance space, and other arts uses.  Plans call for new jobs in makers and artisan spaces, a new multimedia studio, food services, and community gathering spaces.  New Moran will be developed and managed by an exciting new independent non-profit that will assume the project’s pre-development, construction, and operating risk.  The City will continue to own and lease the redeveloped building.  Partners include:

  • Vision and Non-profit leadership: Charlie Tipper
  • Architecture: Smith-Buckley Architects
  • Finance & Project Management: Jeffry Glassberg, Renaissance Development Co.
  • Construction Estimation: PC Construction
  • Civil/Structural Engineering: Engineering Ventures
  • Energy Strategy & Finance: BETTER P3
  • Engineered Wastewater Systems: John Todd Ecological Design
  • Philanthropic Support To-Date: Vermont Community Foundation
  • RFP-Stage Fiscal Agent: Preservation Trust of Vermont
  • Program partners include:
    • Food & Drink: The Vermont Community Garden Network, The Farmhouse Group and Zero Gravity Craft Brewery
    • Arts & Artisan: ‘Generator’ Maker Space, Burlington City Arts (BCA) and AO Glass Studio
    • Community Media/Technology: Bradley Holt & Jason Pelletier – Found Line, BTV Gig & Code for BTV (a Code for America Brigade)
    • Recreation: Burlington Parks & Recreation
    • Events: Crothers Productions

* The New Moran allocation includes $4.3 million of new TIF investment and the reauthorization of $2.091 million allocated by City Council in 2011 for work on Moran Plant redevelopment

Waterfront Park Upgrades

Project Lead:                                                                    Department of Parks and Recreation
Total Project Cost:                                                           $1.7 million
Phase 1 Project Cost:                                                      $831,000
TIF allocation:                                                                   $800,000
Direct Annual Economic Impact:                                  $150,000 direct annual revenues to the City
Indirect Annual Economic Impact:                               Up to $4 million per event

This proposal seeks to implement long-overdue upgrades at Waterfront Park through the renovation of electrical, water, boardwalk, and bike path infrastructure. For years, the site has been functioning as the city’s premier event grounds with an under-supported infrastructure that limits the on-site growth potential. The proposed improvements will enhance the day-to-day functionality, event experience, aesthetics, and improve neighborhood quality of life. These necessary improvements will complement and support the site’s current use as an active park and event site.   The first phase of work will focus on upgrading the utility infrastructure.  By improving the utilities, event impacts will be lessened on neighboring uses, and allow increased use of the bike path during ticketed events through realignment.

Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center (CSC)

Project Lead:                                                                    Community Sailing Center
Total Project Cost:                                                           $5 million
TIF allocation:                                                                   $500,000
Projected Job Totals:                                                       2 new FTE and 5 new seasonal hires
Direct Annual Economic Impact:                                  Negotiations on lease terms and taxes ongoing

The Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center (CSC) proposes to build and operate a 10,000 square feet classroom, office, and storage building with an additional 40,000+ SF outdoor storage yard and access facility. The CSC will provide and expand its operations to meet the community needs for small craft storage and access to Lake Champlain, for Floating Classroom outdoor experiential-education opportunities for local students, for continued growth of the Adaptive Watersports program and partnership with Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports, and as the home for the nationally ranked University of Vermont Sailing Team, and the Northern Vermont High School Sailing Team. For 20 years, the CSC has increasingly been a vital community asset providing access, education, and recreation opportunities to all members of the community, regardless of physical or financial abilities. The CSC is like no other organization in the region, providing nationally acclaimed programming to a broad and diverse community around Greater Burlington.

Burlington Harbor Marina

Project Lead:                                                                    Burlington Harbor Marina, LLC and Jerome J. Parks Company
Total Project Cost:                                                           $5 million
TIF allocation:                                                                   $500,000
Projected Job Totals:                                                        5-10 new FTE and 10-15 new seasonal hires
Direct Annual Economic Impact:                                   Negotiations on lease terms and taxes ongoing
Indirect Annual Economic Impact:                                Significant growth in sales tax and rooms and meals tax anticipated with new transient and seasonal boater capacity

The Burlington Harbor Marina Project (BHM) seeks to address Burlington’s acute shortage of slips and moorings to enable increased usage of Lake Champlain.  The project includes 120 new slips, 40 moorings and stacked storage on land for up to 64 boats.  The location would be near the New Moran project and Community Sailing Center, creating synergies for both.  A new publicly accessible pier would provide breakwater protection for both the marina and the Community Sailing Center.  The project would also include publicly accessible restroom and shower facilities, as well as a seasonal taxi service to serve the entire waterfront.  The project is proposed by developers who most recently completed Hotel Vermont and The Hen of the Wood in downtown Burlington. 

ECHO Sustainability Park

Project Lead:                                                                    ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center
Total Project Cost:                                                           $3.8 million
Phase 1 Project Cost:                                                      $700,000
TIF allocation:                                                                   $500,000
Indirect Annual Economic Impact:                               Already generating $12 million annually

Sustainability Park will be a safe, socially and educationally rich outdoor environment mirroring ECHO’s inside experience.  The outdoor experience will be free-to-all, with no operating cost to the City.  The Park will feature docks and floating nature-walks with direct access to the water – full of things to do, touch, and explore – surrounded by educational demonstrations of sustainable stormwater, energy, and waste management strategies.  The project will be located directly to the south of ECHO’s current building, abutting the Navy Memorial Pier.  The first phase of the project would focus on building the pathways and educational interpretation, as well as some stormwater mitigation. 

Waterfront Access North

Project Lead:                                                                    Department of Public Works
Total Project Cost:                                                           $8,661,000
TIF allocation:                                                                   $500,000 – new allocation

Waterfront Access North is the ongoing project aimed at improving access to the north harbor, northern section of Waterfront Park, and the bike path.  Project components include alterations to Lake Street, the addition of on-street parking, a new and relocated skate park, important stormwater mitigation work, and improved access to the Community Sailing Center, the Burlington Harbor Marina, and New Moran.  This additional investment will better enable the project to move forward in coordination with these other projects.

 

Public Investment Action Plan – Allocations

The amounts below represent the total allocation of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) dollars under the Public Investment Action Plan (PIAP).  The City is prepared to invest up to $9.6 million dollars* in six projects across the waterfront.  Reallocations based on future project progress are possible. 

Project                                                                 TIF Allocation                                     Total Project Cost
New Moran                                                        $6,300,000*                                          $26,000,000
Waterfront Park Upgrades                                 800,000                                                  1,700,000
Community Sailing Center                                   500,000                                                  5,000,000
Burlington Harbor Marina                                   500,000                                                  5,000,000
ECHO Sustainability Park                                     500,000                                                  3,800,000
Waterfront Access North                                     500,000                                                  8,661,000
Project Management                                           500,000                         
TOTAL                                                                   $9,600,000

* New Moran would receive $4.3 million of new TIF dollars, in addition to a reauthorization of $2.1 million of TIF dollars approved by City Council in 2011 for redevelopment of the Moran Plant. 

 

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Press Release Date: 
01/13/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office