Old Boys and Girls Club building has new owner

Mayor Ken Cockayne Tuesday announced the Mayor’s Economic Development Committee has approved the application of Barter, Inc. for an economic development grant of $64,250.

Barter, Inc., more commonly known as Barter Business Unlimited located at 328 West St., is expanding its operation by buying and renovating 105 Laurel St., the longtime home of the Bristol Boys and Girls Club. BBU will relocate its company headquarters to the Laurel Street facility soon after the Bristol Boys and Girls Club moves to its new Bristol complex.

“This is a great opportunity for the city to see a positive reuse of a downtown building,” Cockayne said in the news release. “For the first time in its 106-year history, this building will go onto our tax rolls. In addition to the new tax revenue, the city and its residents will realize the economic development benefits of a successful, homegrown business expanding and hiring new employees.”

BBU plans to hire at least 13 new full-time employees as part of the expansion, said the news release from the mayor’s office. In addition, the company will convert a portion of the 25,000 square-foot building to office/ workspace where small businesses can receive business guidance from BBU staff and clients, similar to an “incubator.”

Grant funds will provide BBU partial reimbursement for a new roof, installation of an HVAC system, and other building renovations. As part of the award, the company is eligible to receive up to $1,000 for each new employee hired over five years. The remaining award amount is based on a five-year payback of estimated new tax revenue generated from the project

The Mayor’s Economic Development Committee provides grants to businesses that are expanding and/or for companies moving to Bristol, said the news release from the mayor’s office. This incentive can be the deciding factor when a company is choosing where to locate and/or can motivate an existing business to expand, said the news release. Criteria used to determine awards include the company’s investment in the project, the financial strength of the company, the likelihood that the company will continue to operate in the City in the future, and tax revenue generated by the project, the release said.

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