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Blog :: 04-2012

Potential Burlington Waterfront Developement

What's the best use for the waterfront near downtown Burlington? Do you think it would be best used for restaurants, hotels, shops, a park and a scenic place to stroll or how about a 9-acre rail yard? As you know, we currently have the latter. A Seven Days article by Kathryn Flagg [2/29/12] on the subject makes it clear that this is no new discussion - nor are we any closer to a plan of action. One major problem: what to do with the rail yard? You can't just pick up and move that kind of infrastructure.
BTV TrainYard

BTV TrainYard

Vermont Rail System (VRS) operates 350 miles of track and Burlington is the northern terminus. It's a very important hub for freight in the county and north. It would not only be expensive to move, but it would need a suitable place. Some places that have been proposed are Williston, Shelburne and the airport industrial park. The new Burlington mayor, Miro Weinberger, was quoted as saying, "You've got a use there that's not just going to disappear overnight." He went on to say that it would be a huge investment and chances are that's not going to happen at a time like this when finances are tight. There are plenty of other issues, too. Neighboring property owners  say the area is a maze of unclear property lines, easements and leases. Defining who owns what will be a challenge. How to develop the waterfront is another issue. Should it just be a park? Should condos and hotels be allowed that would block the lake view? Mayor Weinberger has suggested a top-notch, four-season marina with an expanded boardwalk, shops and boat slips. Other cities such as Chicago, Toronto and even Plattsburgh have moved their rail yards to develop waterfront areas. Moving the railroads out creates very valuable land. What will Burlington do and how will it affect property values? Let us know if you have any questions or comments. If you have any Burlington area real estate questions, be sure to contact us.

Burlington Airport plans to sell houses

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

Anyone want a cheap house? Here's a unique opportunity! This Burlington Free Press Article says that the Burlington International Airport has been buying nearby houses from willing sellers. This is the fifth year they've been able to use federal money for this special program.  They've bought 144 homes in South Burlington, where the airport is located, and another 60 are targeted for purchase. The airport paid above-market price but is selling these homes for $1500 or less! Yes, you heard that right. But there's a catch... The reason the federal government is sponsoring this program is the noise around airports affects the quality of life of local residents. Many of these homes were built back when the airport was just a small airstrip. Those days are long gone, but the homes are still there. The increased noise has come with major airlines and the Vermont Air National Guard.   There's a possibility that the noise will get even noisier if Vermont  gets the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. The announcement for whether that will happen or not is due any time. Public hearings will follow. So, the airport has a choice: sell and move or demolish.  By offering the homes for sale, the airport can save a lot of money in demolition costs and landfill fees - about $25,000 per house. The buyer can benefit by relocating the homes. They can be moved to other sites or disassembled and rebuilt elsewhere. One moved home has become subsidized housing in Washington County. The plan is to fill in the basement holes and landscape the areas. The interim director of the airport, Robert McEwing, said they will meet with the city soon and then advertise the availability of the homes. So, if you're interested, this should be coming up soon. Don't hesitate to contact us for any local real estate information.