City Lights Developers Offer FREE Commercial Space for 1 Year!


Developers of the new City Lights building in downtown Winooski are looking for just the right business to occupy its ground floor next year — and are willing to pay the tenant’s first year rent.

“It’s definitely a unique offer,” agreed Williston-based developer Nathan Dagesse, “but then, it’s a unique and exciting building. We’d like to support a business that would be a good fit in the long term.”

The 463-square foot commercial/retail space will sit at street level of a four-story residential building currently under construction at 106 East Allen Street, at Abenaki Way.

Earlier this month Dagesse tossed out a few ideas of what might work at the location, which has “expansive windows,” a bathroom and ample parking: a deli, coffee shop, a juice bar, sandwich or bagel shop — or a wine-tasting or tap room.

“It could be a start-up or an established business,” he told the Free Press on Friday. “We’re looking for the coolest kind of commercial space we can get in there.”

A restricting factor: The space can’t accommodate a large-scale venting or range hood.

The quest for would-be tenants is competitive. Candidates must submit a five-year business plan to the developers, as well as details of how the business would mesh with the building’s aesthetics, and with the broader community’s cultural landscape.

As part of refining their schemes — and in advance of submitting them for consideration — Dagesse urges prospective tenants to run their ideas past Winooski’s planning and zoning office.

“Our number-one goal is for the tenant to be successful because that will help the rest of the building be successful,” Dagesse said.

The new, 27-unit apartment building will occupy the former site of the Cameron House, a historic residence that was moved last month to a new location in Burlington.

The idea for a first-year’s rent-free strategy for the ground floor arose during
a staff marketing session.

No one on the team had heard of the strategy being used before, Dagesse said, “although I imagine somebody, somewhere, has done it.”

Subsequent years’ rents would be negotiated with the tenant, and could be expected to be approximately $500 – $1,500 per month, he added.

The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m., Dec. 1, 2016.

Dagesse urged folks to get started early.
He can be reached at

Download the City Lights Commercial Space RFP