Another step taken in redevelopment

By KAITLYN NAPLES
STAFF WRITER
Another step towards the redevelopment of Bristol’s downtown area has been taken. A vacant apartment building, 11 Summer St., will be completely demolished in the next few weeks and a new six-family apartment building will be constructed.
“Aside from the relocation of the McDonald’s, this is a first piece of the puzzle coming together,” Ryan Porter, project manager for Renaissance Downtowns, the city’s downtown developer, said. “It takes the entrepreneurs in the area to step up and realize something is happening downtown, and take initiative to help in the development. They’re the real heroes.”
The building at 11 Summer St. was in foreclosure and was owned by a credit union. Patrick Snow, owner of the developer JPG Partners LLC, said the building was purchased for $25,000, and about $500,000 will be put into the demolition and construction of a new facility.
Snow said the current building is 10,000 square feet, and had 10 apartments in the building. The new building, he said, will be about half the size of the former building, will have three one-bedroom apartments, and three two-bedroom apartments and on-site parking. It also will be regular market rate housing.
Bristol Mayor Art Ward said not only is Renaissance focusing on the 17-acre Depot Square site, but the areas adjacent.
“Once it’s (11 Summer St.) down, people will start seeing that something’s happening down here. They will see that someone’s got confidence to take that step which will influence other properties,” Ward said.
The 11 Summer St. building had asbestos, Snow said, however, it has already been addressed. He said the demolition should take a few weeks, and the rebuild of the new facility will take between four and five months. He said he’s never been a part of a demolition and rebuild project. However, the location of the building, the price, and “perspective on what I thought it could be” attracted him to the building.
Renaissance and Bristol Rising are in the process of gathering up signatures and “letters of interest” from individuals wanting to live in Bristol’s future downtown. Community Liaison Mark Walerysiak said he’s trying to get 150 letters of interest, and of those 150, he’s trying to get 75 individuals to sign pre-leases for housing downtown. He said packets are going to be passed out to individuals interested in downtown housing, with information on walking distances, floor plans, and more. He added the housing campaigns aren’t only devoted to gathering signatures for housing on the 17-acre lot on Depot Square.
Even though Renaissance has committed itself to the Depot Square site, Porter said “any efforts on the edge of downtown are helpful to revitalization initiatives.”
For more information on housing opportunities in the future downtown, visit www.bristolrising.com.