Posted by Charity on May 24th, 2006

There are several popular phrases for saying “it ain’t gonna happen.”

When Hell freezes over…When pigs fly…When they build the Lowe’s in South Burlington.

Now you can cross off that last one.

According to the WCAX website:

Lowe’s Home Improvement has received the green light to resume construction of a new store in South Burlington.

The home improvement company and The Conservation Law Foundation have reached a settlement, ending a long environmental battle.

Construction on the site off Shelburne Road was halted nearly two years ago in a legal and regulatory battle centering on storm water runoff pollution. It was noticed that the construction was polluting nearby Potash Brook.

But both sides announced Wednesday they have reached a deal, which includes making improvements to the current storm water pond.

Construction of the home improvement store will likely resume this summer. Lowe’s hopes to open the new store in 2008.

Wonders never cease.

5 Responses to “Just when you thought it would never happen…”

  1. Bob the Optimizer
    May 24th, 2006 at 8:34 pm


    Let’s tear down Burlington Plaza get started on a Big K next! After that, we can woo Target right across from the new Lowe’s!

    I love big box stores, Main Street killers that they are. Friendly service, fine selection, great prices! Convenient parking too.

    Of course, I have spent many a sleepless night worrying about the fate of Potash Brook as it babbles just outside my bedroom window…..

  2. Hahahaha.

  3. As a resident of Montpelier – with two great hardware stores right in town – I have to ask Optimizer what Main Street hardware store Lowe’s will compete with? How many decades has it been since Burlington even HAD a hardware store downtown?

    Hate to break it to you, but what killed locally-owned “Main Street” businesses in Burlington wasn’t Home Depot, WalMart or Lowe’s, it was the construction of the Church Street retail mecca . . . whose astronomical rents can only be afforded by the national chains that now rule downtown Burlington. Why no protests against Old Navy, the Discovery Store, or Ann Taylor? Are they not big enough?

    Montpelier is a perfect example of how downtown retail can survive and even flourish in the age of big box stores. Give people unique, one-of-a-kind shops – and not bland national retail chains like Church Street offers – and you can preserve your traditional downtown and protect locally-owned businesses.

    People spend too much time and energy fretting about the big box stores, and not nearly enough time (listen up, Burlington!) tending to their downtowns and making those downtowns welcoming to locally-owned businesses.

  4. I wrote the above post and I should apologize to Bob . . . I think I misread his comment and detected a note of sarcasm, that he does not want Lowe’s to open. I read his comments again and I now think his “hallelujah” was legit. Correct?

    Hope I got it right this time, and my apologies to Bob.

  5. Bob the Optimizer
    May 26th, 2006 at 9:06 pm

    Yes, my hallelujah was legit. I’m psyched about Lowe’s for three reasons: 1 -I won’t have to go to Williston for the occasional hardware I need, 2 -I can’t stand the environmentalists meddling with developers. With Act 250, if you get far enough to actually get a permit, you shouldn’t then have to fight off frivolous lawsuits by the CLF. They basically try to dictate what others can to on their own property through legal action. 3 -This could mean that future retailers won’t face the same harassment and costs when they try to build there. The Burlington Plaza is a horrendous eyesore. There’s a decrepit Kmart, an abandoned supermarket (closed 10 years ago) and an abandoned cinema (closed in the eighties, I think). It’s wasting away on prime real estate because it happens to be near Potash Brook. It should be torn down and something new built (with the runoff pool out back, of course). But it will probably be condemned before anything happens.
    You are right on about Burlington and Church St. It made the city ‘quaint’ and appealing to tourists, but the small stores that were there originally couldn’t survive on summer tourist money. There were no protests about the big box stores that came in because the college kids who make up the protest pool here happen to like those stores. Wal Mart wanted to come in where Old Navy is now, but he city council would have none of it. They hated Woolworth’s and couldn’t wait for it to go under so they could complete the transition to hip pedestrian mall.
    Montpelier does have a great downtown. The difference is that it’s there to serve the people that live there. (There’s a novel concept!) I haven’t been there in a while, but last time I was, I saw stores that would appeal to locals and tourists alike. I don’t think that stores like Williams & Sonoma appeal to a very large percentage of Burlingtonians.
    I’ve heard from older folks here that Church St. was much better before they blocked it off to traffic. I don’t doubt it.
    One last thing, there is a hardware store called Gregory Supply that’s close to downtown on Pine St near Maple St. I laughed when I imagined a hardware store in the actual downtown. If the city council won’t tolerate a supermarket downtown, they sure as hell won’t tolerate a hardware store!