Two fast food retailers that have property bordering the city-owned property where the downtown mall once stood are apparently eyeing a move.
An assistant city attorney said that both McDonalds and Dunkin’ Donuts have made informal inquiries “about possibly moving their location.”
Jeff Steeg, one of the city’s part-time attorneys, said that the restaurants haven’t made any sort of request in writing.
The city’s Real Estate Committee agreed that it would be best to have the two restaurants speak with the nonprofit Bristol Downtown Development Corp. about any ideas they have.
Frank Johnson, the chairman of the BDDC, said he has talked with the owners of the McDonalds about future plans.
It isn’t clear what either restaurant may have in mind, though city leaders have long said that McDonalds would like to replace its aging building.
Mayor Art Ward said Wednesday the city has let the restaurants know it doesn’t see any reason a developer wouldn’t want them to stay on as part of the revitalization project.
Ward called them a “consumer generator” that helps draw people to come downtown.
The McDonalds property is located in an awkward spot for the redevelopment of the 17-acre downtown mall site, officials have long said.
They said they always expected that a new restaurant would be built on the perimeter of the property as part of any overall project to revitalize the key downtown parcel.
It’s less obvious what Dunkin’ Donuts may be contemplating since its property is just north of the city-owned site and would likely remain a prime location if the city’s grandest dreams for the site were to come true someday.
City Councilor Mike Rimcoski said he would like to see “the white elephant” dealt with.
“It’s not white anymore,” Johnson countered. “It’s gone.”
The city ripped down the decrepit mall last winter, leaving a large vacant lot where it once stood.
An effort to secure a developer this spring came up short when the only bid came from a mysterious Florida company with no solid track record. The BDDC rejected it.
The city bought the mall property in 2005 for $5.3 million. It has spent about $8 million in all, when consultants, demolition, lawyers and other costs are included.
The nonprofit company was created during Mayor William Stortz’s administration to oversee the redevelopment of the mall property.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
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