The Bristol Blog features news and information about Bristol, Connecticut.
July 25, 2014
Why isn't the city pursuing a Plan B?
Thanks in large part to persistent prodding from former Mayor William Stortz, many people are wondering why the city isn't pursuing a Plan B for the 15-acre site where the mall once stood downtown.
The reason is pretty simple: it might be grounds for a lawsuit.
If the city rejects the financial plans offered by developer Renaissance Downtowns, which may happen, then officials might have to prove someday in court that they hadn't prejudged the revitalization scheme.
Renaissance would have an easier time in court if it could show the city was so dismissive of its proposal that it didn't even wait to see it before beginning to pursue alternatives.
Then, too, it's unclear to everybody what a Plan B might look like.
People say the city should just sell the land. But that's exactly what the city hopes to do with Renaissance.
They say the property should have retail and restaurants, not housing. But Renaissance has been trying to get those commercial ventures all along. It hasn't had much luck. It is looking at housing first in the hope that having people living there will make the site more alluring to businesses.
Some say the city should let a local developer take a crack at the parcel. But D'Amato Construction is already a Renaissance partner. If it had a better plan, we'd be seeing it already.
It's a little hard to see what the Bristol Downtown Development Corp., which is overseeing the revitalization effort, could possibly do if Renaissance is sent packing.
Nobody involved in this process, even those who don't much like the Long Island developer, seems to think there's even a slight chance another developer would come along anytime soon to take another crack at the property.
So if Renaissance is handed its walking papers sometime later this year, which may happen, there's no obvious course for the city to take after that. It'll probably find itself sitting on a field of broken pavement and broken dreams for a long time.
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