January 22, 2009

City unsure what to do about aging Armory

City leaders appear skeptical about finding a way to reuse the empty Bristol Armory if the state decides to give it up.

City Councilor Frank Nicastro said that state agencies have yet to express any interest in the old building.

If none want the 61 Center St. structure by March 3, the state will offer it to the city, probably for $1. Its assessed value is $5.2 million.

It isn’t clear the city will agree to take the building, which needs substantial renovation. There is no indication what the city might do with it if officials opt to take it off the state’s hands.

“That building needs so much work it’s unbelievable,” Nicastro said. “And the state doesn’t have any money.”

“Neither does the city,” added city Councilor Mike Rimcoski.

The building housed the Connecticut National Guard’s  102nd Infantry unit for many years until it was moved to New Britain last spring.

Mayor Art Ward has said that city officials and residents should consider ideas for the property soon in anticipation of the expected offer.

But so far, there’s been no indication that anything is in the works.

Ward called the building “totally unsafe” the way it is.

Former Mayor William Stortz said during one of his speeches that the Armory “could be condominiums or offices” if the state no longer needed it.

The chairman of the Bristol Downtown Development Corp, Frank Johnson, has said there “may be an opportunity there.”

“Nothing certain,” Stortz said, but given that it’s one block from the mall site it is “a possibility.”

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


Anonymous said...

My thoughts would be that it would make a great all inclusive homeless shelter or a correctional facility.

Anonymous said...

I agree! It should be made into a homeless shelter. There is certainly a need for it, or even weekly rent for the less fortunate who are on waiting lists for other area apartments. But lets not make it another elderly facility! We already have enough of them especially with Gaylord Towers just changing their status!

Anonymous said...

Sell it. We don't have money to renovate, and some one could build some nice condos in it.

Cart before horse said...

Maybe we can house the guests from club Gitmo there .

B. Hussein Obama has NO IDEA what to do with them once he closes that clubhouse .

Anonymous said...

Knock it down and leave it a vacant lot. That's worked so well for the mall property!

Anonymous said...

Build a Homeless Shelter and they will come.

Anonymous said...

This is just an idea... Maybe the powers that be should leave the town lines and investigate what other cities in this situation have done. Look to Old Town Alexandria, VA, Collinsville, CT Willimantic, CT or North Hampton, MA for ideas of what can be done with these types of buildings.

Multi Business Building:
Food Co-Op?
Rent space for Artist Galleries?
Studio Space for musicians or music teachers?
Public Reading Room?
Host area for an indoor farmer's market?

Please keep in mind that I have no idea what needs to be done to rehab the building but if it is possible to garner a monetary ROI within a reasonable amount of time thru either rent or subsequent sale of the property...it might be worth the immediate ROI of fostering an atmosphere conducive of community and culture.