Breakfast and Keynote

“Nobody should have to move out of their neighborhood to live in a better one.” – Majora Carter

Rural and urban areas across America try to support “low-status” communities through education, training, and other funding, yet economic stagnation persists. Why is this happening? This keynote will explore a different perspective on real estate development to expand the possibilities for Northern New England professionals connected to land use. A focus on talent retention and sustainability defines Majora’s ability to inspire visionary strategies for developments that transform our communities into thriving mixed-use local economies.

10:30 am Concurrent Sessions

Building Homes Campaign: New Goals for the Next Five Years

Nancy Owens, Evernorth
Charlie Baker, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission
Michael Monte, Champlain Housing Trust

This session will review the lessons learned from the first five years of the Building Homes Campaign. Looking forward to the next five years, draft campaign targets and strategies will be presented, and participants will help strategize specific actions for Building Homes Together 2.0.

The Future of Retail Centers: Adaptation, Repositioning, and Redevelopment
Peter Smiar, VHB
Elizabeth Grob, VHB
Todd Finard, Finard Properties
Ernie Pomerleau, Pomerleau Real Estate
David Roy, Wiemann Lamphere Architects       

A panel of leaders from across the development community will host an open discussion about what the American retail center will look like in a post-COVID-19 world. Interest in optimization of existing retail centers has been growing for several years, but these spaces have been declining in use with the advent of market forces such as online shopping, freestanding “big box” retail formats, and stricter regulations related to greenfield development. More recently, as the perceptions of public spaces have changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the decline in usage has been steeper. How will these changes continue to shape the future of retail center spaces?

Cohesive Actions to Avert Climate Change, Make Money, and Power Our State with Clean Energy
Bill Maclay, Maclay Architects 
Chad Farrell, Encore Renewable Energy 
Eveline Killian, Cx Associates 
Laura Bailey, Maclay Architects

In this brainstorming session, participants will play a critical role in answering questions facing the Vermont development community. How can our community bring companies to the next level of environmental and social regeneration? How can the inherent synergies between cost-effective net-zero and positive-energy building and development, renewable energy, low-carbon materials, and profit link together? We have an opportunity to look at how the development industry in Vermont can create new connections, synergies, jobs, and profits while supporting employees and their community. The panelists will share solution-based examples, expertise, and insights from the field to generate a foundation for the conversation. Participants will collectively connect disparate parts of our economy in ways that will find the untapped potential within our existing systems, elevate everyone, and generate a pathway forward. Let’s dream big!

Other People’s Money (OPM): Public/Private Partnership Projects in Vermont
Craig Miskovich, DRM, PLLC
Shannon Lenzini, DRM, PLLC 

This session will address the economic realities that have made public/private partnership projects necessary for commercial development in Vermont’s challenging business and legal environment. The panelists will discuss municipal development agreements, opportunity zones, tax increment financing, and tax credit programs. Hear their real-world examples of what has worked and what has failed. This session will highlight recent, successful experiences with significant OPM projects throughout the state, including revitalization projects in Bennington and Brattleboro and projects in the Greater Burlington area.

11:45 am Networking and Exhibits

12:00 pm Lunch

1:00 pm Concurrent Sessions: Round 1

The Hybrid Workforce and Agile Workplace: Part 1
Jesse Beck, Freeman French Freeman
Jennifer Fitch, Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services
Alison Bell, Langrock Sperry & Wool, LLP

In Part 1 of this two-part series, participants will explore questions such as, How do employee needs, development, and retention intersect with post-COVID-19 behaviors to create an effective workforce? What are hybrid workforce requirements? What developments are trending? What is the changing nature of employment? An architect, a lawyer, and a commissioner of state buildings will discuss various issues to consider when determining your hybrid workforce and how to embrace it.

Material Shortages and Cost Escalation in the Built Environment and What They Mean for You
Joseph A. Barra, Robinson + Cole, LLP
Robert M. Freas, Exponent, Inc.
D.J. Mason, Keville Enterprises, Inc.
Rob Wenger, WCS Construction, LLC

Given COVID-19’s impact upon the built environment, material shortages and cost escalation are the biggest challenges currently facing the construction industry. Participants and panelists will engage in a lively discussion on how to address these risks in existing and future projects.

Setting the Stage for Economic Recovery—The Legislative Road Ahead
Karen Horn, Vermont League of Cities and Towns

In this interactive session, participants will first discuss the 2021 legislative action to spur economic recovery and grow vibrant communities. What were the successes and failures, and what lessons did we learn from the past legislative session? Looking forward, participants will be asked to think creatively about approaches to effectively spur place-based growth and recovery. How can we help ensure strong economies in our towns and cities? What are the most important needs in the post-pandemic economy? This will be a collaborative time to examine where to focus the energies of cities, towns, RDCs, and state agencies with respect to legislation.

Speed Networking: Connecting With Fellow Professionals (session limited to 45 people)
Back by popular demand, attendees will have a designated session just for networking! This session will offer short, one-on-one meetings with other attendees for an opportunity to share a quick introduction. Join us for this unique chance to test your communication skills and grow your network.

1:45 pm Networking and Exhibits

2:15 pm Concurrent Sessions: Round 2

The Hybrid Workforce and Agile Workplace: Part 2
Jesse Beck, Freeman French Freeman
Jane Pickell, Freeman French Freeman
Jennifer Fitch, Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services

Part 2 of this two-part series will explore how the physical workspace is evolving to accommodate the hybrid workforce. We will discuss new standards for space, employee desires, square footage requirements, and the future of physical environments. The session will consider owned or leased space and less or more square footage. Architectural space illustrations of an agile workplace will be presented.

Permitting and Case Law—2020–2021 Update
A.J. LaRosa, MSK Attorneys

This presentation will focus on the most relevant new case law in the land-use practice areas of the last two years. We will review the relevant Act 250, municipal zoning, easement, right-of-way, stormwater, and wetland cases and discover which cases dealt with unclear areas of law and how the courts struggled to resolve the cases. Participants will have the opportunity to debate the relative merits of a case to help illustrate how the courts might have relied on fact-specific issues.

A Shock to the System: Emerging Real Estate Trends in the Wake of the Pandemic
Brad Minor, Allen, Brooks & Minor, Inc.

Since its onset, COVID-19 has impacted the Chittenden County commercial real estate market in countless ways. The past 20 months have involved uncertainty, restrictions on business operations, supply chain disruption, and shifts in behavior among consumers, tenants, and buyers. This seminar will provide a review of trends in market activity, vacancy, development, and investor perceptions observed within the Chittenden County real estate market over the past two years.

Broadband Expansion: Stimulating Economic and Community Development in Rural Communities
Scott Johnstone, VHB
Britta Tonn, VHB
Brad Ketterling, VHB

In our COVID-19/post-COVID-19 reality, all sectors of industry, including commercial real estate, must rethink how business is accomplished. It can be argued that providing all Vermonters with readily available and reliable fiber networks will not only stimulate economic and community development but also strengthen Vermont’s resiliency. It is quite possible that broadband expansion will be a high-priority target for federal stimulus funding to restart our economy. This session will address the impact of this federal funding should it become available and will illustrate that only with the build-out of its broadband system can rural Vermont have successful businesses and a vibrant economy, and grow the tax base necessary to support its communities. We will explore organizing models, such as communication union districts, to move past barriers that have held back progress in the past and explore what can be done to ensure success in the future.   

3:00 pm Networking and Exhibits

3:15 pm General Session and Finale

3:15 pm: Recovery: Trends in the Vermont Economy as We Emerge(?) from the Pandemic
Kevin Stapleton, Vermont Department of Labor

In this annual favorite, economist Kevin Stapleton will review the status of the economy, both in Vermont and nationally. This year, he will give special emphasis to the pandemic recovery, long-term prospects, and the 2020 Census. Bring your questions and join the group discussion.

4:00 pm Cocktail Reception