Here's another interesting story from reporter Jackie Majerus:
The city should build the new K-8 school on the former mall property if it wants to bring people downtown, developer George Carpenter said.
Carpenter showed up at the Bristol Downtown Development Corp. meeting Monday and offered his perspective on the property and the economy.
He said a school will bring children and their parents downtown. Senior developments will help, too, Carpenter said.
Once the people are there, it will be easier to get retailers to consider that area, according to Carpenter.
Carpenter, who owns many properties downtown, said he has no interest in the failed, 17-acre city-owned mall site because of the overall economy. He said he already gave it a shot.
"We tried to get tenants to move there for years," said Carpenter. "We negotiated to buy it and had no luck."
The recession, said Carpenter, wont' go away easily because of "stagflation."
"It's not going to last a year," said Carpenter, but rather "at least" two.
Nations like India, China, Brazil and Russia are growing fast and demanding development.
Especially China, said Carpenter, will be investing in new construction after the devastating earthquake.
"It's going to cost us a lot of money," said Carpenter. "They have our dollars. We buy from China. We buy from India. We buy from Russia. We buy from Brazil. Our dollars are devaluating."
Retailers like Wal-Mart, if forced to make a choice between building in China and building in Bristol, are going to pick China, Carpenter said, where the people are so poor that they're thrilled to get anything.
"The Cold War went away. It's now a world economy," said Carpenter. "You're fighting with the rest of the world for retail."
While waiting for the economic tide to turn, said Carpenter, the BDDC should make sure that the sprawling former mall site doesn't hurt the other businesses and residents downtown.
"I don't want dust on my property," said Carpenter. "Pave the property. Put some trees on it."
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
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