Montpelier, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott, the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR), and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) today announced that $6 million in brownfields funding has been committed to the cleanup and redevelopment of 453 Pine Street in Burlington. The current redevelopment proposal, being led by two Burlington entrepreneurs, includes a Nordic-style bathhouse and wellness space, boutique bowling alley and entertainment venue, and open space.
“Economic revitalization has been a top priority of my Administration and turning unusable brownfields into opportunities plays an important role in communities,” said Governor Scott. “Brownfields are some of the biggest, most complex legal, financial, and environmental projects in Vermont, but when cleaned up, they can have huge economic and environmental benefits.”
In 2013, 453 Pine Street was one of the first sites to be enrolled in Vermont’s Brownfield Economic Revitalization Alliance (BERA) program. The site has posed a unique redevelopment challenge that is both complicated and costly due to the nature of its contamination and proximity to Lake Champlain. Located in the South End of Burlington, 453 Pine Street is adjacent to the Pine Street Canal Superfund Site which was a former coal gasification plant. Since its closure in 1966, efforts to clean and redevelop this property have been hampered due to the expense and challenges associated with the contamination, deterring many interested developers over the years.
“This site represents some of the toughest redevelopment challenges caused by contamination in Vermont. Success at 453 Pine Street is possible because of the BERA program and advancements in science proving that remediation work is not only possible, but necessary to return this land to health,” said ANR Secretary Julie Moore. “This site’s future would still be unknown had the Governor not proposed historic levels of funding for this program. Brownfield funds are crucial to maintaining the connection between a healthy environment and healthy economy as communities increasingly recognize these sites as assets rather than eye sores.”
The planned redevelopment is intended to support Burlington’s already vibrant South End arts district and further enhance an already strong community gathering area of the city.
“We are thrilled to see these cleanup funds committed to the development of new hospitality and gathering spaces,” said ACCD Secretary Lindsay Kurrle. “Hospitality is one of Vermont’s largest sectors and it suffered some of the biggest impacts during the pandemic. Business growth in this sector, which will bring new jobs and more visitors to the area, will have a positive and lasting ripple effect across the local economy."
In total, the State is investing $25 million in brownfields, which was previously announced by Governor Scott as part of Act 74 and represents the most significant state investment to brownfield sites to date. Historically, remediation projects have been funded exclusively by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
To date, six sites have been enrolled the BERA program. Projects at two of the sites are complete – Robertson Paper Mill in Bellows Falls and Richmond Creamery in Richmond – and funding commitments are in place for two sites in addition to 453 Pine Street – Jones & Lamson (J & L) Plant 1 in Springfield and the Fonda facility in St. Albans.
Further details about the 453 Pine Street property and the proposed redevelopment project can be found by clicking here.