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Champlain College Set To Buy Burlington Lot For $1.1 Million

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BURLINGTON - The City Council is expected to approve on Monday an offer from Champlain College to purchase a public parking lot from the city. The Browns Court lot currently has about 40 metered public spaces.

The college has plans to join the lot with the former Eagles Club property, which it bought in 2009, and develop the property, adding 70 to 90 units of apartment-style housing for students. In addition, Champlain has agreed to maintain the current number of publicly available spaces on the property.

“It’s a win-win,” said Brian Pine, Assistant Director for Housing at Burlington’s Community & Economic Development office.

Use the interactive map to view the area in Burlington containing the former Eagles Club property (red) and the Browns Court lot (green).

Through the existing meters, Pine said, Burlington currently makes about $30,000 a year from the lot. Under the new agreement, the city would lose that revenue to Champlain but gain about four times that amount in property taxes, Pine said.

While it boosts revenue for the city, the move also helps Champlain move closer to the goals set out in its 2007 master plan.

"In that master plan, it contemplates Champlain College having about 2,000 undergrad students, and we would make a commitment to housing all of them,” said David Provost, Champlain’s Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration.

Provost said that when the 2007 plan was formed, the school was equipped to house less than half of those students. The goal, he said, was to add a total of 1,200 beds – 600 in Burlington’s hill area, where Champlain College is located, and 600 elsewhere.

Since then, the school has added 400 beds on the hill after building two new dorm buildings. It has also been leasing 270 beds at Winooski’s Spinner Place and 100 more at Quarry Hill in Burlington.

"This project, Eagles Club and Browns court, represents that opportunity to add some of that housing,” Provost said.

In addition to adding to available student housing the new development will add parking. Because the school is designing its new building across two property lots and plans to have a parking garage underneath it, there will be roughly 100 total spaces, Pine said.

Champlain must make at least 40 of those spaces public, but could further add to public parking in Burlington if it opts to open up more to the public.

Monday’s City Council vote comes after the Burlington Board of Finance heard the proposal and sent it to the council unanimously recommending approval.

If the 14-member body approves the sale, Provost said, “then our expectation is that we could be in the ground by the first of the year.”

There is not currently a plan in place to address parking in the Browns Court area during the construction period, which Provost said will take between 14 and 16 months.

Taylor was VPR's digital reporter from 2013 until 2017. After growing up in Vermont, he graduated with at BA in Journalism from Northeastern University in 2013.
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