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Planning Board Reviews Proposal for Mixed-Use Project in Former Lord & Taylor Location

Plans for the former Lord & Taylor building at the Burlington are coming into more focus.

Representatives of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the former parent company of Lord & Taylor who have a long-term lease on the building, were at the November 18 Planning Board meeting to discuss a mixed-use proposal in the former store.

“The building is vacant and we’re here to discuss some preliminary planning to reposition it,” a representative of the company said. “We’re seeking the board’s flexibility for the kind of tenants that can occupy the building. It’s historically been an anchor for the mall but as the town considers potential future uses this is an important element of the repositioning of that retail center.”

In a presentation, representatives of the company said they are looking to convert most of the first floor into office space with some retail and food and beverage space available. Under the current plan the entire second floor would be additional office space. They said they are not planning on changing the footprint of the building but will make internal changes to accommodate the mixed-use development. They stressed there would be no impact to the infrastructure of water, sewer or parking and in fact they could ease parking by having employees using spots during non-peak retail times.

There were talks, however, of adding additional windows to the mostly concrete outer wall.

Burlington Planning Director Kristin Kassner said this could be a way to revitalize the mall space and the town could work with Hudson’s Bay to help steer the project to more closely match the director the town is heading in terms of retail and office parks.

“How do we change and evolve these types of spaces to have it more at street scale?” she asked. “What’s that curb appeal? I know they have barely any space right on the edge of the parking lot but still – there’s a lot you can do from your front door to your front walk to make this space more engaging.”

Members of the board said they were interested in learning more about the project in future meetings and thought this was a good start.

“I’m very happy to see something being done with the building,” member Mike Espojo said. “We’ve all seen with the pandemic and the change of retail habits that something has to be done. It has to be repositioned and redeveloped and I’m glad to see this building being looked at and am excited to see what you come up with.”

Finally, member Barbara L’Heureux said the board has been hearing from other developers that they are having difficulty filling office space and are moving more towards lab rooms. Representatives from Hudson Bay’s said they believe that with all the amenities of the mall and their plans to have a more youth-orientated design they could attract new companies.