Connection Managers empty... cannot deploy and run on SSIS

I have a connections biml file like so:
<Biml xmlns="http://schemas.varigence.com/biml.xsd">
     <Connections>
          <OleDbConnection Name ="src" ConnectionString="Server=LSGXXXCC27;Initial
               Catalog=AdventureWorks2014;Provider=SQLNCLI11.1;Integrated Security=SSPI;" CreateInProject="true">
         </OleDbConnection>
...
</Connections>
</Biml>
<#@ template language="C#" tier="1"#>

The project compiles fine.
In VS it runs fine.... but I notice when I open the connection manager(s) the SERVER name is not populated.
When I deploy to SSIS and try to run from SQL Agent the job errors out on first step and says essentially what I have stated above, connection failed because the server name is missing.

The project is in project deployment mode (wonder if this is the problem and needs to be in package deployment mode?)
But then I tried Catherine Wilhelmsen's hack create project parameters from biml.
Code compiles, Project.params have the connections - but this didn't work either as the connection managers are not parameterized.  I went ahead and manually parameterized them, but of course when I re-compile the connection managers are reset.

Bottom Line - no matter what I try I cannot get a server to populate into the connection manager.  Without that, we cannot deploy.

Anyone have this problem?
Suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

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