The Florida architect that drew up the plan submitted for Bristol’s downtown revitalization was tapped for the project because the firm has shown it can go beyond just bricks and mortar, said the Los Angeles-based promoter who put the proposed deal together.
Basham and Lucas Design Group, Inc. of Jacksonville, Fla. has been “very successful in creating ambiance,” said Jaime Parker of the Los Angeles-based Cielo Real Estate Investment Group.
Parker said that he chose Mark Basham as the architect because he’s done projects similar to the “live, work, play community” envisioned for the17-acre, city-owned former mall site downtown.
Parker said that Basham manages “to create an emotion” that appeals to people and makes them want to spend time in the developments he designs.
The developer eyed for the project, Heritage Financial Group of Jacksonville, is not tied into the architect hired to draw up the initial plan, Parker said.
He said that Basham was hired separately to show “the overall concept” that’s eyed for the property.
Parker said he went to Basham for the job because he knows their work and thought the firm would come up with a plan that would demonstrate the possibilities for Bristol’s long-neglected downtown core.
Basham and Lucas says on its website that it “specializes in land planning, architecture, landscape architecture, and signage design. Specifically our expertise is in the architectural theme development of resorts, master planned communities, retail entertainment, family fun centers, golf clubs, sporting facilities, themed restaurants, specialty commercial, multi-family and corporate offices.”
The projects it shows on its website appear to favor lush, tropical looks with lots of water, pools, trees and greenery. They’re also mostly in Florida.
The firm has “perfected the art of creating magical communities,” according to the downtown proposal submitted by Parker on behalf of Heritage Financial Group.
John Lodovico, a member of the nonprofit Bristol Downtown Development Corp., said the rendering that Basham made is “a nice vision” for what could be done with the site.
There’s “an unbelievable thought process” evident in how the pieces were put together, Lodovico said.
“From a conceptual perspective, this meets the plan” that downtown leaders had been hoping for, said Frank Johnson, chairman of the BDDC.
The BDDC plans to discuss the proposal when it meets on June 16. If it likes the plan, it could choose Heritage Financial as its preferred developer by the end of July.
If it doesn’t like the plan, for doesn’t believe the developer is up to the task, officials will consider what they want to try instead, probably another round of seeking proposals.
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