By mid-January, cranes should be ripping apart the decrepit old mall that has long been a blot on Bristol’s downtown.
“Everybody’s optimistic,” Mayor Art Ward said Friday. “I’m just looking forward to seeing that come down.”
Ward said that he’s confident there will be interest in the city-owned, 17-acre site once the mall is gone and a game plan worked out for its future.
He said he has received inquiries about the property from five developers already, three of them from Connecticut and two from New York.
But before Ward can do much more than thank them for their interest, the Bristol Downtown Development Corp. needs to finish its work on a plan for the property.
The city’s purchasing agent, Roger Rousseau, said that a demolition contractor is “making a great deal of progress over there” in ripping out the hazardous materials in preparation for the razing of the building.
He said that it would likely be the first or second week of January before the building begins to come down.
Rousseau said a fence will be erected around the building soon and the Laurel Street entrance to the site, across from City Hall, will be closed off.
That’s being done to ensure the safety of residents, officials said.
The BDDC is looking to develop a community consensus about how best to redevelop the key downtown parcel, which the city purchased for $5.3 million in 2005.
It appears likely the nonprofit agency will endorse some kind of scheme that includes retail shops, offices and perhaps housing.
But fleshing out the proposal is likely to take time.
Ward said he anticipates that by the time the corporation solicits solid plans from developers it will have a “quite extensive” amount of information “as to what we’re looking for.”
A Trumbull company, Standard Demolition Services, got the contract to raze the mall and cart off the concrete pad on which it sits. The company’s $988,000 bid was the lowest of 13 received by the city this fall.
Another downtown hearing
The Bristol Downtown Development Corp. is holding a “stakeholders” hearing about the mall property on January 7 that will focus mostly on what city supervisors and commissioners have to say.
“We’re trying to get everybody on board collectively,” Mayor Art Ward said.
The meeting, slated for 6 p.m. at Bristol Eastern High School, is being touted as a chance for the nonprofit downtown company’s officials to hear directly from city councilors, land use commissioners, the Bristol Development Authority, the police, finance commissioners and other municipal decision-makers.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at email@example.com