Cash transferred to aid redevelopment of Riverside

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

The Board of Finance voted in favor of the transfer and appropriation of $18,000, to be used for the possible redevelopment of the J.H. Sessions Building and property to rev up some economic activity on Riverside Avenue.

At a special meeting, July 9, the board approved the transfer of $18,000 from the General Fund Contingency Account, and the appropriation of those funds into the Capital Projects Fund for the property at 273 Riverside Ave., in the hopes of kick starting development on the Riverside Avenue corridor.

Bristol Development Authority executive director Justin Malley reported that the city has been working with Arthur Bogen, president of the Connecticut Brownfield Land Bank, on this project for over a decade.

According to the CTBLB website, the primary purpose is the “education of government officials, community leaders, economic development agencies, and non-profit organizations on best practices of redeveloping brownfield sites.”

Malley explained the city would enter into a tri-party agreement with Bogen and the CTBLB, and the preferred developer, once selected. This, Malley said, would allow the city to transfer the tax liens to Bogen and the Land Bank, allowing the Essex-based nonprofit to step into the chain of ownership on the Sessions building.

“We’re protected from sort of different liabilities that come with brownfield projects,” said Malley. “It could sit there while we apply to grant funds to clean it, it could sit there also with a developer waiting in the wings.”

Malley also mentioned the property directly across the street from the Sessions Building – 296 Riverside Avenue. The BDA director said the city has held that property always with the intention of including it as part of a potential development deal for Sessions. One such use could be parking, as parking is limited on the Sessions property.

The city posted the project request for proposals on Thursday, July 11, and will be accepting submissions until Thursday, Sept. 5.

Those interested in responding to the RFP can find more information at the city’s website, bristolct.gov.

Comments? Email tmurchison@BristolObserver.com.