Mayor Weinberger Celebrates Opening of The Moran FRAME

Mayor Weinberger Celebrates Opening of The Moran FRAME

Friends of the FRAME Announces Plan to Activate the Site

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today announced the opening of The Moran FRAME, a new iconic Burlington landmark and public space on the Burlington waterfront featuring the revived steel superstructure of the former J. Edward Moran Municipal Generating Station.

“Today we’re celebrating the rebirth of the post-industrial northern waterfront, and the reclamation of this site on the shores of Lake Champlain as a treasure for Burlingtonians and visitors alike to know and enjoy,” said Mayor Weinberger. “The Moran FRAME will stand as a proud symbol of the innovative spirit of this community for generations to come, and will serve as a centerpiece for all the outdoor recreation, community programming, local commerce, food, and art happening in Waterworks Park.”

Following 30 years of stalled efforts to reimagine the site of the long-abandoned former coal plant, the Moran FRAME represents significant transformation of the northern waterfront and a testament of the City’s long-held commitment to the conservation of public spaces, as well as to energy transformation. The building was first commissioned in 1952 by then Mayor Moran as a coal fired plant, converted to wood chips in 1977, and ultimately decommissioned in 1986. In 2014, the City of Burlington became the first in the nation to source 100% of its electricity from renewable sources, and in 2019 Mayor Weinberger announce a plan to achieve Net Zero by 2030.

As the first phase of redevelopment at this site wraps up a new, independent, non-profit organization, Friends of the FRAME, has been established to support the sustained use of this site as an ever-evolving, four-season, public space focused on facilitating high-quality, inclusive public programming and support ongoing stewardship of this place. The City and Friends of the FRAME are currently piloting a partnership that will bring a series of initial activations to the site, the first one being the two swing benches facing the lake developed in partnership with Generator.

"Our ultimate hope for The FRAME is that it never loses that intangible sense of possibility and promise that eventually led us to this moment,” said Zach Campbell, founder and Director of Friends of the FRAME. “And that for decades captured the hearts and imaginations of countless dreamers – inspiring bold ideas, and bringing people together in substantive, meaningful ways. That is the true energy future of this power plant, and when that energy can be harnessed into action there is almost no limit to its potential."

"BCA is committed to the idea that public art contributes to a city’s well-being in countless ways,” said Burlington City Arts Executive Director Doreen Kraft. “From inspiring ideas and reflection and beautifying public spaces to supporting local artists financially and helping to draw creative businesses to a community that values culture and the arts. We look forward to working with local artists and businesses to bring this wonderful, unique, and lasting work of art to life."


  • Past efforts to revive or redevelop the former coal-fired plant were pursued from 1986 to 2017 and spanned everything from a full adaptive reuse of the building to complete demolition.
  • Within his first 100-days in office, Mayor Weinberger announced a “NoGo” Decision on the prior administration’s plans for commercial development of the building.
  • In early 2014, Mayor Weinberger announced a slate of projects for the Waterfront Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District, ultimately approved by the City Council and Burlington voters, bringing $9.6 million in TIF funds to leverage additional investment.
  • Following the public vote in March 2014, the City signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with New Moran, Inc. in August 2014, giving the nonprofit company the exclusive opportunity to redevelop the Moran Plant.
  • In 2017, the City and New Moran Inc. ceased redevelopment efforts. The Mayor cited feasibility concerns, saying, “it is time to turn the page on this effort and find a reuse of the site that expands and complements the major progress on the northern waterfront that we have enjoyed over the past five years.”
  • In February 2020, the City Council approved the administration’s proposed Phase 1 investments.
  • In August 2020, the City broke ground on the Moran FRAME.

Investments Completed in Phase 1 of the Moran FRAME Project

  • Removal of the brick and concrete exterior of the Moran Plant, avoiding the significant expense of stabilizing the bricks, and revealing the steel frame beneath;
  • Stabilized the steel frame;
  • Abated and remediated hazardous building materials, including asbestos, lead paint, and PCB paint, in order to make the site stable and safe for the public;
  • Completed remediation of the soils at the Moran site and, in so doing, finished remediation of soils throughout the Waterfront Access North area;
  • Created an at-grade, level grassy area at the site and accessible paths through and around the FRAME making connections to Waterworks Park and the Burlington Greenway;
  • Introduced sub-grade utilities to provide lighting and support future, additional investment at the Moran FRAME, and
  • Painted the steel superstructure, restored the iconic “City of Burlington” letters added new interpretive signage, installed dramatic LED lighting for nighttime use;  
  • The project budget was $6.55 million, funded by $3.559 million from the Waterfront TIF district, a $2 million redevelopment loan from the federal Agency of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and $950,000 from the Burlington Electric Department for environmental remediation.

Transformation of the Northern Waterfront

The Moran FRAME is the final of six projects approved by voters in 2014 to strengthen and revive the northern waterfront. These projects were recommended by a public committee through the Public Investment Action Plan (PIAP) process, and funded through the Waterfront TIF district, leveraging federal and private funds, without any impact on current property taxes. The six project are:

  • The Moran FRAME;
  • The new home for the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center;
  • The new Water Works Park which increased access to the water’s edge through a wooden boardwalk, benches, fishing pier, and many native shrubs, grasses, and trees;
  • Improved landscaping, environmental remediation, and utility relocations in the Waterfront Park and the entire northern waterfront;
  • New parking amenity, solar canopy, rain gardens, and public art at ECHO; and
  • Expansions to the Burlington Harbor Marina along with publicly accessible amenities like bathrooms and parking.


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City Department: 
Mayor's Office