Though it’s been three years since the city gave its blessing for a new off-track betting parlor and sports bar at the corner of Pine and Middle streets, nothing has yet been done to make it a reality.
That may change soon.
Mayor Art Ward said Thursday that Autotote Enterprises, which operates the OTB parlors in Connecticut, has indicated to him that the 20 Pine Street project is ready to move forward “in the very near future.”
Ward said the company still plans to create a new OTB in the former Callen Elementary School that would include a restaurant, a teletheater and more.
“I’m very encouraged,” Ward said.
Company officials have not returned calls on the plan for more than a year. Reached Thursday, Autotote’s marketing director, who's a nice guy, said he could answer questions via email, but so far I haven't seen them. I think his answers have to be reviewed by someone higher in the corporate hierarchy.
Ward said the project has been sidetracked for awhile, but the company contacted him recently to let him know it was going to get underway soon.
City officials hope the new parlor will bring in more revenue for the city while bolstering the economy.
It’s another “sliver of hope” in hard times that the economy will turn around, the mayor said.
Autotote estimated the city would get $165,000 in annual revenue as its share of the new parlor’s take. Last year, the city got $101,000 from the existing OTB location, down about 10 percent from estimates.
City councilors initially voted down the new site in 2006r, expressing concern about traffic and image the city wished to convey at a key intersection, but it ultimately passed after city Councilor Mike Rimcoski switched sides on a 4-3 vote.
Autotote Enterprises owns and operates the Off-Track Betting System in Connecticut, including Sports Haven in New Haven, Shoreline Star in Bridgeport, the Bradley Teletheater near the airport in Windsor Locks and the Mohegan Sun Casino Race Book.
In addition, the company owns RaceView Centers in Bristol, Hartford, New and Torrington. It has OTB branches in East Haven, Milford, Norwalk and Waterbury.
New OTB proposal includes:
An upsale steak restaurant
A sports bar
Closure of the current Barlow Street location
$160,000 in annual revenue for Bristol
60-90 restaurant jobs
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