Don Sinex has a plan to transform
downtown Burlington. Will it work?
By Matt Crawford
Photographed by Daria Bishop
It stands to reason that one of the most aggressive plans to bring change to the heart of Vermont’s largest city would require somebody witharemarkable vision. And Don Sinex certainlyhas thatvision— he’s ready to pour some $200 million into refurbishing the aging Burlington Town Center Mall and radically transform the
Church Street Marketplace in Burlington.
But it was a problem with Sinex’s vision, in fact his
eyesight, that brought him to Burlington in the first
place. In 1998, the real estate developer bought a vacation
home in Rutland, and ongoing issues with his eyes led
his ophthalmologist to suggest exploring experimental
treatments at the University of Vermont Medical Center.
Sinex, a partner in Devonwood Investors, the New York
City–based real estate firm, had been alerted by an old
business friend that the owner of the Town Center Mall
was trying to sell the property. At first blush, Sinex had little
ACTION FIGURE Developer Don Sinex leads the
effort to revitalize the Burlington Town Center Mall.
The retail structure sits in the heart of Vermont’s
largest city, but the mall is fading. “If nothing happens
to this shopping center, it will die,” says Sinex.