Moran Frame

At first glance, the steel structure on the Burlington Waterfront looks like a modern-day work of art. You're not wrong. But upon closer inspection, you'll also find that the three-story frame is an iconic piece of Burlington's history.


The FRAME is a restored steel superstructure that once housed the Moran Plant, a coal-fired power plant that provided electricity to Burlington from 1954 until its decommissioning in 1986. For the past 30 years, multiple groups have proposed alternative uses for the building and site.


In 2023, The FRAME opened as an open-air public space overlooking Lake Champlain. The site is now a place for outdoor movie nights, pop-up performances, roller skating, public art installations by local artists, custom-built "FRAME" swings that include a wheelchair-accessible swing, seasonal vendors, outdoor seating and tables, historical signage, free public Wi-Fi and more.

Moran Frame - Pedestrians Walking

The City of Burlington, Friends of The FRAME, architects Freeman French Freeman, landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), community members and stakeholders worked together over the past five years to reimagine the space and showcase its history.

(Photos Courtesy of Ryan Bent)
The Moran Plant's History

In the 1950s and early 1960s, the Moran Plant appeared to be successful in delivering reliable and affordable power to Burlington's rMoran Frame (Historical Photo)esidents. But in the late 1970s, during coal strikes and the oil crisis, the Moran Plant was no longer financially sustainable. In addition, Vermont passed strict air quality laws that hampered the Moran Plant's operations.

Then-Mayor Bernie Sanders and Electric Department general manager Robert C. Young decided to close the Moran Plant in the summer of 1985 for what Sanders stated were environmental, economic, and aesthetic reasons.


Plans to reimagine the Moran Plant stalled for various reasons after sitting unused since 1986. But a new vision that involved peeling back the plant's brick and concrete exterior—revealing its steel frame beneath—The Frame became a reality.

The Future

Public access to this part of the Burlington Waterfront has been restored. Experts remediated, stabilized, and activated a derelict site by creating a distinguished Burlington landmark that alludes to the area's industrial past.

The work continues. The City of Burlington and its partners will continue exploring ways to host various public events and performances, expand vendor infrastructure, and increase site accessibility.

You can visit The FRAME anytime between sunrise and sunset.

If you're looking for a free and fun evening activity this summer, the outdoor Movie Nights at The FRAME series is on Thursday evenings (7/11, 7/18, 8/8, 8/22, 9/5). Gates open at 7 p.m., food and drinks are available for purchase, and movies start at 8:30 p.m.

Learn more about The Frame at

Renderings Courtesy of MVVA
Moran Frame Skating Rink (Rendering)Moran Frame Movie Night (Rendering)