Renaissance gets extension

By LISA CAPOBIANCO
STAFF WRITER
Renaissance Downtowns now has an extension to finalize its plan to develop Depot Square in downtown Bristol, as both the City Council and Bristol Downtown Development Corporation voted unanimously to approve a 7th Amendment to its agreement with the developer.
During a special meeting held last Monday, the BDDC and the council initially discussed the matter during an executive session. After a little over a half hour or so, the council and the BDDC convened back into the public meeting to vote on the 7th amendment for the preferred development agreement between the city, BDDC, and Renaissance.
Tim Furey, the attorney who represents Renaissance, said during the meeting the developer was “prepared to sign this agreement.”
“They really want to roll up their sleeves and bring this thing home,” said Furey.
“I’m glad to hear that the sleeves have been constantly rolled up,” said BDDC member John Lodovico. “I think hopefully this time around it’ll be a little tighter around the biceps.”
During the meeting, Attorney Mark Oland provided a summary of the 7th amendment, which he said represents a modification of the time frames included in the agreement. The existing agreement originally required the developer to eliminate the first parcel of land by May 25 this year, but that date will now be replaced by June 30, which is the major deadline for Renaissance to have its financing plan completed. The exception to that date would be limited circumstances that entail potential government funding.
If the deadline is not met by the developer, the city will be allowed to search for other developers or end its work with Renaissance, according to the new amendment.
“The developers asked for some extensions, and we’ve done that,” said Oland. “There are very clear timelines that the developer has to meet, and if the developer does not meet it, the city would have the right to terminate the agreement.”
Under the new deal, the minimum first purchase requirement was eliminated and a series of dates have been set forth, said Oland. The minimum requirement stated the first acquisition must include the 200 apartment units, and 10,000 square feet of commercial space.
“We’re relying on the BDDC to approve what they’re proposing, and for the zoning requirements to be met,” said Oland.
The deal also includes a section about the possibility of the city working with the developer or being responsible for the proposed public piazza behind the first building, which would face Main Street.
“This amendment allows for maximum possibilities for both parties,” said Mayor Ken Cockayne, adding the real estate market seems to be improving while rates are at an all-time low. “The city is doing everything possible to develop the downtown parcel.”
Comments? Email lcapobianco@Bristol Observer.com.