The main topic last night was an update from Brookfield Representatives — the developers of CityPlace Burlington (currently a hole in the middle of downtown). We learned almost nothing. The good news is, Brookfield is working with DPW to clear the right of way so that the fencing around the hole is no longer blocking sidewalks and parts of streets — particularly on Cherry St. They will also work with BCA to turn the barriers around the pit into an art installation.
While Brookfield maintains that they are 100% committed to this project, they wouldn’t share any info with us in terms of next steps or timeline. They said they expect movement in the next year, and believe the project would likely be completed in less than four years — but these were soft estimates rather than firm commitments. I pushed them to at least commit something specific in terms of public input and engagement. They said they would come to NPA meetings and would seek other avenues for engagement, but weren’t willing to give more specific commitments beyond that.
The developer is in violation of the development agreement made with the City. Given that they aren’t willing to offer any transparency around their plan moving forward, I think it is time that we look at how the City can now hold the developer accountable for violating this contract. The City has acted as a good faith partner throughout this process. In contrast, Brookfield has not only violated the development agreement — but is offering no plan moving forward. Their lack of transparency, openness and communication don’t give me reason to simply trust them based on them saying they are committed. I want to see that commitment.
Because we continue to be strung along and go from hearing nothing for months to getting non-updates, I think it is now time to use the accountability tools that we have to get more from Brookfield.
On another note, I’ll be posting again shortly about another topic — the Mayor’s housing summit coming up on Wednesday the 4th from 6-8pm. Stay tuned!