UVM seniors to redesign Moran Plant

At 400 Pine St., in a brick jungle of local graffiti, two seniors have planned to revive the face of Burlington’s waterfront.

Room 9 Redevelopment, made up of seniors Tad Cooke and Erick Crockenberg, plans to transform the decaying Moran Plant.

The plant, former power generating station, will transform into a “multi-functional civic space.”

The multi-million dollar project will work to bring together an “eclectic crew” of community members in an energy and financially sustainable manner, they said.

“I hope they get it done, that would be pretty impressive,” junior Chris McCarthy said.

The duo plan to turn the 25- year waterfront “eyesore,” into a multi-functional, self-sustaining civic space, Cooke said.

The new Moran Plant space will have food and beverage from The Farmhouse Group and Zero Gravity Craft Brewery.

Art installations from Arentzen & Ohlander Glass Works and Burlington City Arts will also be featured along with public gardening programs through Vermont Community Gardens Network, among other community partnerships, Cooke and Crockenberg said.

The central Great Room will have a capacity of 1,500 people, “which could be used for a Ted Talk, concert or farmers market,” Cooke said.

“The rooftop garden space will be great for weddings and other formal events,” he said.

“A diversified economic base, which [Room 9 Redevelopment] are all about, not only builds financial capital but builds community and social capital,” said Jane Kolodinsky, chair of community development and applied economics.

“A non-profit generates value as much through its tenants as through its programs,” Crockenberg said.

The construction will preserve large coal bins and a coal trolley above the Great Room to preserve the waterfront’s industrial culture, Cook said.

What are Tad and Erick most excited for in conquering this project?

“Knocking a golf ball off the roof,” Crockenberg said.

Room 9 Redevelopment is currently operating as a Limited Liability Company so that they can begin work immediately.

As paperwork formalizes the new Moran Plant project, it will become non-profit and will owned by the city, they said.

“Spring 2016 to start construction” is the duo’s goal, Crockenberg said.

The Charlotte, Vt. natives have even self-designed  their own majors entitled “ecological design.”

Their plan was set in motion this past fall, when the city approved $6.3 million of funding toward the seniors plan at town meeting day, Cooke said.

They submitted their redevelopment plans as part of the February 2013 public action investment plan hosted by the city of Burlington.

This is a competitive process that is open for community members to submit project ideas for waterfront improvement, according to newmoran.org.