Redstone drops lawsuits against CityPlace Burlington project

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  • Courtesy of Freeman French Freeman
  • A render of CityPlace Burlington on Cherry Street

Redstone has dropped its lawsuit against the City of Burlington and has also agreed to drop its lawsuits against the besieged CityPlace Burlington project as part of an undisclosed “preliminary global settlement” between the parties.

Samantha Sheehan, spokesperson for Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, said in a statement Wednesday that the final deal was still being drafted. The “full details”, she said, would be released “as soon as possible”.

The deal, the result of two mediation sessions, is expected to resolve Redstone’s four legal challenges to the project, the first of which was filed last summer. This civil lawsuit claimed that the dismantling of the old shopping center in 2018 damaged the Redstone building at 100 Bank Street, which is adjacent to the project site, and that it had to “accept less rent than it is paying. would do it otherwise ”because of the gaping pit left behind.

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The CityPlace Burlington site, with 100 Bank Street visible at the top right of the pit

Rival developer challenges CityPlace Burlington project in court

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Development

In May, Redstone appealed CityPlace’s zoning permit to the Vermont Superior Court’s Environment Division, saying the developers had not analyzed the project’s impact on traffic and stormwater. Redstone also argued that the city should have reviewed the project under old zoning bylaws that would have required additional parking spaces.

In June, Redstone stepped up its opposition with two more lawsuits, including one in the U.S. District Court, which named the CityPlace team, planning staff and members of the volunteer development review committee. Redstone argued that the project permit violated his property rights by authorizing the construction of a road under his building on Bank Street.

CityPlace managing partner Don Sinex described the lawsuits at the time as a “frivolous and crooked attempt … to secure a cash settlement” from its development team, which includes Dave Farrington, Scott Ireland and Al Senecal. . He had said that legal challenges could derail the project.

Redstone’s partner Erik Hoekstra declined to discuss the terms of the settlement, saying the deal is confidential “until everything is final.” But, he said, “there is a fair amount of compromise on the part of everyone involved.”

“Our goal has always been to reach an agreement to allow things to move forward,” Hoekstra added. “Everyone worked together to bring what they could to the table to do something that will move things forward in a positive direction.”

Farrington said he was glad the team was able to avoid lengthy legal proceedings that could have jeopardized funding for the project. A development agreement with the city states that if construction does not begin by September 2022, the partners will have to pay the cost of reconnecting St. Paul and Pine streets – parts of which were lost to the former. shopping center – to the city network. If the partners meet the deadline, the city will reimburse the cost with increased tax financing funds.

Farrington said Redstone’s lawsuits delayed the project by about three months. He hopes to finalize the designs by this fall and maybe start pouring concrete in early spring. The 10-story project includes plans for housing, shops and a rooftop restaurant.

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From left to right: Dave Farrington, Al Senecal and Scott Ireland at the CityPlace site in Burlington

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City

“There are a lot of things that have to happen before it even looks like a building site,” he said.

CityPlace also needs financing before construction can begin. Farrington said many backers have expressed interest in the project – but will not continue talks until the lawsuits are settled. He said Sinex has started contacting those parties with news of the deal. Sinex did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.

And while Redstone’s business is coming to an end, there are still two ongoing lawsuits involving the project. In February 2019, a group of citizens sued CityPlace to enforce an earlier court settlement regarding parking; project partners sued this group in December 2019. Both cases are still pending in the civil division of the Vermont Superior Court.

Still, Farrington said the Redstone deal is progress.

“We feel a lot better about it,” he said. “That’s good news for sure.”



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