Business project next to NRG withdrawn

Photo by Scooter MacMillan
Jan Blomstrann has withdrawn her application for a 9-acre commercial development for five buildings of 12,500 square feet each on this property south of NRG Systems on the east side of Highway 116.

Staff Writer

The plug has been pulled on an 80,000 square foot commercial project next to NRG Systems in Hinesburg.

On Aug. 27, town officials learned that Jan Blomstrann had decided to withdraw her application for a commercial development that would have leased office or light industrial business space.

The project didn’t have specific tenants lined up but was being built on a speculative basis, said Alex Weinhagen, Hinesburg’s director of planning and zoning.

The project had been proposed for the approximately 9 acres south of Riggs Road with frontage on the east side of Highway 116. Riggs Road is the road that leads to NRG Systems, a pioneering company in the field of wind energy measuring and monitoring equipment.

NRG Systems co-founder and former CEO Blomstrann sold that company in 2017, although she still owns the property and several properties next to it.

“This is a hard pause,” Blomstrann told The Citizen in a phone interview Tuesday. “I have no intention of resubmitting the application.”

She said that the project would have allowed for five buildings, each 12,500 square-feet in size, and has been in the works for at least five years. Blomstrann added that she had gotten significant positive feedback from the community and appreciation for the economic development the plan would bring to Hinesburg.

“The master plan got approval and got approval from every (town) committee,” Blomstrann said, “and we heard lots of support.”

Weinhagen said Blomstrann’s decision to withdraw the application was not due to any issues the town raised. He added that the application withdrawal is a substantial disappointment since the project would have fit in nicely as the kind of development the town has wanted for Hinesburg’s Northeast Zoning District.

While the town process had been encouraging, Blomstrann said her project team encountered roadblocks “at each step of the way” at the federal and state level, most recently with pushback from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Agency of Natural Resources, regarding a wetlands buffer.

Blomstrann said that she has spent over $100,000 on the project and it was just getting too expensive.

“We could have found a path forward, but I chose not to,” she said. “It cost a lot of money to resubmit the project,” she said. “I’m frustrated with the whole process.”

She said that this project was developed by Wind NRG Partners, which is a totally separate company from her former company, NRG Systems.

Regarding the experience, Blomstrann said, “I’m just processing it myself and trying to figure out what the next move is.”

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