Moran plant in Burlington is losing bricks, retaining its signature silhouette

Closed down in 1986, the Moran plant on Burlington’s waterfront has invited bright ideas for its transformation.

The mammoth, L-shaped building challenged would-be developers for decades.

Last year, the city finalized a solution that would cost little more than demolition: To strip the structure of its bricks and leave its signature silhouette intact, as a see-through, steel “frame.”

Work began on the $5.4 million project in August.

As funding permits, subsequent embellishments might include an observation tower, art exhibition or performance space and a skating rink, city planners say.

A machine-mounted jackhammer crumbles concrete along Burlington's defunct Moran plant , which is being dismantled down to its frame on Nov. 6, 2020.

The site, meanwhile, attracts attention as a high-profile work in progress.

Heavy-duty, machine-mounted jackhammers nibble away at ground-level concrete; excavation is underway beneath the frame, exposing massive, bee hive-like supports for the plant’s long-gone dynamos.

On the upper stories, old south-facing ventilation fans still spin in the wind as they have, unpowered, for decades.

The stripped-down Moran Frame concept was first floated by University of Vermont design student Tim Novine, who in 2013 built a model of it for a class assignment.

Contact Joel Banner Baird at 802-660-1843 or Follow him on Twitter @VTgoingUp.

This coverage is only possible with support from our readers.