Bristol Roundup

PHOTOS: New Downtown Building Going up Fast — Vast Contrast From Renaissance Downtowns Promises

New Bristol Hospital building | Photo courtesy Mike Uchalid

The revitalization of downtown Bristol is progressing at lightning speed on Main Street.

Bristol Hospital is rapidly constructing a 60,000 square foot three-story building that will house multiple medical practices and services.

New Bristol Hospital building | Photo courtesy Mike Uchalid

The building is expected to employ dozens of professionals while servicing thousands of patients heading downtown.

For over a decade, Bristol residents seemed to come to terms and gave up that the former mall site would be more than just and an empty patchwork of old pavement and gravel.

For years Renaissance Downtowns promised the world to Bristol.

New Bristol Hospital building rear view | Photo courtesy Mike Uchalid

Under pressure, back in 2014, during a city hall meeting, the overdue first phase of Renaissance Downtowns revised a scaled-down proposal. It did not go over well.

Also presented at that meeting was a report by Goman & York Property Advisors. The group was hired to see it Renaissance Downtowns could pull it off.

Their report indicated the proposal would not be successful.

Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu recently said “At this point, the Bristol Hospital is on schedule to open in the spring. While we have some interest in a couple of the N. Main St. parcels, there are no official letters of intent received to date.

I think it is really important to ensure that we have the right mix of uses and the right developers to make it work so that we do not have any of the problems that were created 50 plus years ago during urban renewal when political pressure creates bad policy, which led to bad decisions.”

CEO Kurt Barwis told the Bristol Press recently “I drive past this property every morning on the way to work. A couple of weeks ago, when the steel started going up, I looked over and I think that was probably the first time – you know, you could see drawings all day long – but the first time I realized what impact this building is going to have in the city, and it’s going to long outlast me and my life.”

New Bristol Hospital building entrance on the new road | Photo courtesy Mike Uchalid

Unlike Renaissance Downtowns, Developer Rendina Healthcare Real Estate is rapidly developing a high-quality project transforming downtown Bristol and the former mall site.

Richard Rendina, chairman, and CEO told the Press he compared the process to a puzzle.

“Every deal has its own nuances,” Rendina said. “I like to compare it to a jigsaw puzzle. Right, when you think you’ve got the puzzle put together, one of the pieces changes shape and you’ve got to figure out how to put it all back together again. That, for sure, happened on this project, like it does on many others.”

It took “a lot of hard work and dedication” to get this done.

What took years of Renaissance Downtowns to accomplish nothing, Rendina Healthcare Real Estate has produced results in Months.

According to Rendina, they have developed more than 7.25 million square feet of healthcare facilities, working with hospitals and developing projects for healthcare systems throughout the United States.

When the end was near for Renaissance Downtowns, they continued to push their plan in a last ditch effort to save whatever reputation and credibility they felt they had.

New former mall site road | Photo courtesy Mike Uchalid

“When the first building is developed, and it fills up, we can prove Bristol is ready for a boom, and everything else in the plan can blossom into fruition from there. We are confident this will happen, and when it does downtown Bristol will get on the track to Rising like never before! Your passion and energy will continue to inspire this transformation and we look forward to seeing things move forward in a fashion that works for all!”

Recently, RXR Realty has filed a lawsuit against Renaissance Downtowns, calling into question the future of major revitalization projects in the Village of Hempstead and Huntington Station in New York.

“No meaningful development has occurred on the proposed projects and, in light of the irreconcilable differences between RXR and Renaissance, the projects will not be going forward and will not be completed,” RXR said in the suit, filed Wednesday in Nassau County Supreme Court. “… RXR does not trust Renaissance, and can no longer do business with Renaissance.”

New former mall site Road | Photo courtesy Mike Uchalid

The City has completed a new road to divide the remaining former mall site into smaller lots. Interest in the smaller lots is positive.

It seems the massive downtown Bristol destination point approach didn’t work. The new simpler approach appears to be working.

As Petula Clark says going downtown, The lights are much brighter there, you can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares So go downtown, things’ll be great when you’re downtown, no finer place for sure downtown everything’s waiting for you.

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