June 16, 2008

Carpenter: Put new K-8 school on the mall site

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.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


Anonymous said...

That would sure help George Carpenter keep all his property rented downtown.

Anonymous said...

That might help all property owners downtown. The town center is no longer a place to shop. Find a new use. We all deserve something else to whine about.

Anonymous said...

And, keep him from losing some of his rentals elsewhere.

As usual, George is for George, no matter what he says.

Anonymous said...

Great idea George(for you). No interests in Downtown Maul except build a new school that pays no taxes and George don't have to collect rent . And who will build the new school? Carpenter?

Anonymous said...

I believe Carpenter's idea is the only feasable one. I've felt the same way for quite a while.

The main point is that the downtown area as a retail center is dead. There is virtually no retail base to be developed here.

We supposedly need a new school. We have the space. It'll be centraized, thus saving gas. There will be a certain level of commerce created by the people flowing through as a result of the school. It's the best idea. This is a govenment sector region of the city. Farmington Ave is the retail sector. It'll bring life to the area.

Thank you Mr. Carpenter

Anonymous said...

and having a D&D and McDonald's on the premise makes so much sense, especially considering the obesity problems that plague America's youth today...

Anonymous said...

Instead of trying to "force" the downtown to become something it probably won't, we should use that land for Municipal purposes. We need a new West End school to replace two and (hardly) no one wants to put it on the Scalia site. Then there's the eminant domain issues for the Park/Divinity St. site. So, use the land we already own and build a school and then embrace and improve the Route 6 corridor which has already become the de facto shopping "center" in Bristol. It just makes the most sense.

Anonymous said...

Gauranteed more money in this for Carpenter. He wants the Maul property free.More $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for him.

Anonymous said...

Think it through first..

Central only means some drive more, some drive less.

NO Student will be walking to that location.

Significant loss of tax revenue.

Reduced lack of justification for Train stop or Bus Depot.

School area will attract more kids during off hours to be a bane to existing merchants.

And, this will enhance Carpenters properties: on the Avenue, on N. Main Street, and in Forestville.

A Win Win Win for George.

And Art will capitulate.

Anonymous said...

And not used about half the year (days) and even less in the evenings and at night.

Great way to attract people to Bristol.

But George comes out ahead.

Anonymous said...

June 17, 2008 11:49 AM:

Notice; It's an empty lot now that no one wants!

June 17, 2008 10:41 AM;

Students WILL walk to this new school! Why would you think they wouldn't? Too fat like you?

"Reduced lack of justification for Train stop"

-Oh yeah that pipe dream again?

"School area will attract more kids during off hours to be a bane to existing merchants"

-What merchants are those? Bring in the kids!!

Anonymous said...

June 17, 2008 11:49 AM:

What exactly is going to "attract" people 24/7, 365 days a year? Perhaps a police station or a post office? Oh yeah we already have those.

How about a foot ball stadium? Gee East Hartford is doing great since that $90 million Rentschler waste was built NOT. And Hartford's mon life support. What a coup! Oh yeah it's only 4 months out of the year too huh?

The fact is that the city owns the land, people want to build a new school. So here we are. It's a heck of a better thing than Cootch-imantis' "sports complex", OSJL, or a new Dorthy's!

Anonymous said...

Carpenter is 100% correct.

Trains are heavily subsidized by the taxpayers and no decent retail establishment has shown an interest in this property in numerous years & they are not going to start now. The lack of bids is evidence that know one is interested in this property for retail.

I'm not in favor of megaschools however, schools attract people during the school day, at night for events and during the summer if sports fields are built. The sidewalks and roadways are already there. Would people rather have us build a school on the Scalia site and have to build the infrastructure that is already downtown? Not to mention the cost and time that will be spent busing kids to the Scalia site.

We also supposedly need a new city hall, police station and fire station and this site could be considered for that.

Anonymous said...

Thought that 4 years ago Mr. Carpenter was going to tear the theaters on Pine St for a tax break now we have 6 or 8 new stores. Profit again for Mr. Carpenter

Anonymous said...

What students will LIVE within walking distance?

Stores, retaurants, residences will have more people in the area than a school.

And remember, it was Carpenter that said that a scholl will bring people to the area. Have him explain what he meant.

Anonymous said...

"What students will LIVE within walking distance?"

The answer is the West End, Federal Hill, the North Side and the South Side?

Are you stupid?

Anonymous said...

How many are within the walking distance?

Anonymous said...

The City would be foolish to spend millions purchasing, cleaning up and developing the infrastructure at the Scalia Site. And then spending millions more on busing in every single student. I agree.....put the new school at the mall site. At least the mall area has some damn sidewalks! Nobody wants it for commercial purposes. Don't you think they would have already sent in proposals? Nevermind "moving bristol forward"...how about "Take a clue....build a school"?. LOL

Anonymous said...

yea right, let's have a bunch of kids walking and crossing the main traffic arteries and intersections while people are trying to get to work. GREAT IDEA! Dangerous for the kids, and more frustrating delays for those driving to work. I hope you are not a policy maker.

Chris Wilson fan said...

June 17, 2008 4:43 PM:

What's more congested than Memorial Boulevard? That seems to work OK. How about Eastern HS with the new Route 72? Should we move that school too? What about Hubbell and Green Hills? Have they been plagued by traffic problems? NO!

Either build THE school there are leave it as is and wait for someone to propose something realistic (which is a very limited spectrum).

Anonymous said...

Does George Carpenter live in Bristol anymore?

What does he care about our scholl system?

Bob Merrick said...

I think that Mr. Carpenter had some very wise observations of market conditions and the effects of global demand and growth on local economies.

He stated that the country is in a period of stagflation and it will be at least 2 years before things get better. His view were based on a detailed business report he was familiar with that convinced him that global growth had changed the way US multinational retailers like Walmart operate.

He reported that the cost of concrete and steel coupled with other development costs can not be recovered in rents or supported by the revenues generated in today's retail environment. Additionally, he felt retailers are not likely to risk entering an area that has few target customers or activity such as currently exists downtown. He explained that he felt a school on the Centre Mall site and other centers of civic activity such as a senior center would bring people downtown, increase activity and eventually spur associated retail development. Mr. Carpenter admitted that this is a 180 degree change in the opinion he had two years ago and prior to considering global impacts.

He also stated that large corporations like Walmart are eying their growth opportunities outside the US because countries like India, China, Brazil, and Russia have stronger currency, heavily subsidize commodity-dependent projects and are less concerned with current market prices since their governments are filling a need by improving the lives for their people who are demanding a better way of life.

Therefore, without US subsidies these multinational companies will continue focusing their growth and utilizing their tighter capital where they have greater opportunities to get the best return. That is not in the United States at this time. Mr. Carpenter said that it has affected how he looks at business decisions going forward.

Anonymous said...

Can everyone hear the people at the state level, and even developers, laughing at us???

Now you have a rationale as to why developers do not take us seriously.

Anonymous said...

The right mix of retail, offices and rsidential will bring people downtown.
Who went to the Avenue before the stores were there?

Virtually ALL studies indicate that residential is a key.

Schools do not promote steady activity, and other people will not come downtown just because there is a school there.

Carpenter is just working to protect his investment, not looking out for Bristol longterm.

UB Blog said...

6:50 AM,

Which part of laughing at us are you referring to?

The only disappointment was the one proposal submitted by Heritage Financial Group showed no indication of any ability to or interest in providing any capital backing for the proposal they submitted. This disappointment is hardly the fault of the BDDC, the mayor, the City of Bristol, or Mr. Carpenter's comments in my opinion.

The BDCC will be going back out to qualified developers including some like Konover that indicated they needed more time.

Mr. Carpenter's comments are relevant because he provides a different point of view based on his own experiences and in trying to encourage retailers to come to one of his many properties in the city.

Mr. Carpenter's new development of the old cinema next to the 99 Restaurant on Pine Street has been nicely transformed into new retail space but it is empty. The construction and development costs obviously are higher in today's market translating to rental rates that are prohibitive for many small to medium-sized businesses that would like to locate their business in the plaza. It's not an issue of an undesirable location. The plaza is very busy and has easy access to the highway.

Anonymous said...

this carpenter guy is brilliant !!

hey george, why don't you run for mayor and clean up this dump bristol has become !!

george, you're our only hope !!

Anonymous said...

George is so smart that he moved out of Bristol.

Another absentee landlord.

Anonymous said...

Ya, okay Mrs. Carpenter...enough already!

Anonymous said...

Goerge is concerned that some of his tenants will relocate to the Mall Site, because they know it will be successful.

As a businessman, George is concerned about that.

As a non-Bristol resident, he puts his pocket before the city.

Anonymous said...

We need alternate transportation links for the future, just like Europe. The major cities and towns of CT need to be interlinked by commuter rail. This would lessen our auto dependency and help unclog and releive our major roadways.
If we are entering into a stagnant economy because of our longstanding trade policy, and limits on petroleum fuels,( with not enough alternate fuel available to replace petroleum, nor with fuel efficient vehicles in the production pipeline for years to come), it makes sense for the city and state to consider the renewing Bristol's train link.
High fuel costs for our automomibles are killing our economy and are a strain for too many people.
This first step from the "public sector" would NOT require a developer. However, it would reqire the public sector to make the first investment for the parcel.

This action would provide the needed stimulus by "putting people on the parcel" on a regular basis.
These commuters would then attract the retailers and other businesses.
In time, a parking garage would be needed, to accomodate everyone.

A school on the downtown site would with its space requirements would take up too much land, and rob the city of the potential tax dollars that would be generated by a fully developed town center.
Besides, if auto fuel is going to continue to skyrocket, the school bus will be carrying the kids to and fro, not the parents who will be conserving their resources. So, you can't depend this pool of people to economically support the remaining parcel.

We are going to need alternate ways to move about in the future.

Frankly, in my opinion, this recession or depression into which we are entering, could be a blessing in disguise for Bristol's future. The timing couldn't be better if only our leaders and ourselves could see beyond the car and the highway, and act in our own longterm best interest.


Anonymous said...

Good obversation Bob Merrick. Is there any prominent person in Bristol you haven't "kissed up to" yet? Too bad you don't listen to people you deem unworthy.

Georgie Carpenter makes a good point though. I agree with him generally.

There are/were three uses for the "mall parcel".

1) As it was; a aging, unsightly outdated building housing only struggling low-value business or junk peddlers like OSJL.

2) A school or some other government sector building

3) A field of grass

-That's it! Get used to it and embrace reality.

Anonymous said...

The first question should be: what is the best choice for education.

A new school will outlast any commercial development. Even if it is wrong, or in the wrong location, the public sector will not undo it (school), although, the private sector will/would make changes (commercial facility).

What is best for education, and for the children should be the ctiteria and priority.

Anonymous said...

Obviously I meant "good observation". Whom ever may deduct as many points as they wish.

Obviously Carpenter views this fiasco as the debacle I see it as also.

Anonymous said...

June 18, 2008 12:58 PM:

Well first the fact that a building is modern and closer to the majority of housing in this case is good for the children's education.

Secondly it's better to have the school in the downtown than it is having it on the top of the mountain and/or in a sand pit on the outskirts of town. Is it better for the kids to have the school 10-15 minutes farther away from their parents (who most likely work to the east of Bristol)?

Personally I think smaller, neighborhood schools are the best for the kids.

Anonymous said...

Yes, commuter trains are subsidized by the government, but so are our roadways, are they not?
We do not have private roadways.
Does not the government pay to build and maintain roadways and highways over which we run our cars?

If any form of transportation has the ability to be self supporting, it is the train- certainly not the car.
Privately held companies move freight by rail in this country, and make fine profits.
They thrive so much that foreign governments are out to buy them.

For the greater part of the 20th century the Bristol's vibrant downtown was sustained by the rails.
The public policy to accomodate only the car, or ocassional bus,
proved to be fatal.


Anonymous said...

Plant grass and grow some trees!

How about making it a town green (seeing the Boulevard is apparently now a possession of the Bristol Veterans Council).?

Anonymous said...

"For the greater part of the 20th century the Bristol's vibrant downtown was sustained by the rails. The public policy to accomodate only the car, or ocassional bus, proved to be fatal."

-You're a fool "June 18, 2008 3:25 PM". The malls killed the downtowns. And that's because people WANT to take their cars. They live in sub-urbs (like most of Bristol has become). They took rail in the past because there was no I-84 in 1940 you dolt!

Rail transportation is only popular in highly concentrated, much larger population centers like NYC or Boston. Not Bristol!

Anonymous said...

"You're a fool "June 18, 2008 3:25 PM". The malls killed the downtowns. And that's because people WANT to take their cars. They live in sub-urbs (like most of Bristol has become). They took rail in the past because there was no I-84 in 1940 you dolt!"

The day of people WANTING to take their cars is over. People will take the rail in the future because they won't be able to afford gas. Before you calling June 18, 3:25 p.m. a fool, better take a look in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

"The day of people WANTING to take their cars is over"
June 18, 2008 4:36 PM:

-You live in a very small world. Have you been checking the Interstates lately? Well I have and they're all quite busy. I guess Westfarms hasn't shut down yet either.

-Have you heard of electric cars? What are you planning on doing next year? Are you taking the train? Well I'm planning on taking my car.

-Obviously you commute back and forth to either Walmart or some city job. Now go back to your neo-Marxist club meeting.

Anonymous said...

To June 17, 2008 7:29

Your rudeness is not called for.

Sweet heart, don't make unfounded assumptions or hurl accusations and insults about the people who write on this blog.
You know nothing about their skills, abilities, life experience or accomplishments.

Anonymous said...

to june 17, 10:51 Exactly !!!!!!
To the unknown!!!!

Anonymous said...

4:43 I noticed you left out Bingham school . Was that deliberate ?

Anonymous said...

Thanks 10:51, nicely said!

Anonymous said...

Maybe Carpenter will start a petition drive.

Anonymous said...

June 18, 2008 10:51 PM:

You clearly are a moron. That is not an assumption.

Anonymous said...

June 18, 2008 10:51 PM;

This statement;
"For the greater part of the 20th century the Bristol's vibrant downtown was sustained by the rails. The public policy to accomodate only the car, or ocassional bus, proved to be fatal"
...is false and anyone who would write or agree with it is a fool. I'm sorry but in my oppinion that is not a false accusation or an assumption.

Since the end of World War 2 the downtown did not "thrive" on rail transportation. And the "public policy" to "accomodate only the car" has not yet proved to be "fatal". Are you dead? Well I'm not and neither is our economy or our society. Anyone making such a ridiculous statement can't be dealing with a full deck as far as I'm concenned. And I will make that clear.

Anonymous said...

NO No more plans for more new schools, there are already plans for them without using the old mall site, how about building buisnesses what a novel idea huh?

Anonymous said...

To 11:23am

Did you not read the updates that no businesses are interested in the mall property?

If you can find businesses that are willing to locate to the site please let us all in on the plan. I sincerly hope, for the good of Bristol, that you can find these businesses. However, since no businesses (other than OSJL) have shown a serious interest in many, many years your chances are slim to none.

So, let's face facts and either use the property for schools or municpal buildings or office space and elderly housing.

Anonymous said...

A good informative read:


Here's hoping that those who are influential in Bristol take time to read it.

Anonymous said...

"You clearly are a moron"

In the absence of intelligent argument, the slow-witted turn to taunts and name-calling as CLEARLY demonstrated by 10:13's juvenile remarks...tsk, tsk, tsk!

Anonymous said...


Rosenthall said he received many calls and had a list of those interested.
Both former mayors received calls, and Ward probably did too.
A business is not going to build, a developer is.

The question is: was the RFP to restrictive?

Anonymous said...

June 20, 2008 2:38 PM:

Don't you have a life? There was plenty of intelligent rebuttal to the idiotic statments in question. You choose just to be a knit-picker and a putz...and a moron.

Anonymous said...

"You choose just to be a knit-picker and a putz...and a moron."

Once again, name-calling and a taunts instead of intelligent argument...tsk, tsk, tsk.

Anonymous said...

"There was plenty of intelligent rebuttal to the idiotic statments in question."

Yes, but unfortunately none of them were made by you!