BRISTOL - The city continues to make progress in developing Centre Square downtown, as Mayor, Ellen Zoppo-Sassu announced she has signed a letter of intent with Tabacco & Son Builders Inc. for a 2-acre section at the corner of Riverside Avenue and North Main Street.
Zoppo-Sassu said she is working on the purchase and sales agreement for the property, which covers Parcels 1, 2 and 3 on the old mall site.
Tabacco’s plan is to construct a two-story building on Parcel 1, which faces Riverside Avenue, she said. “They are looking to have a restaurant as the anchor tenant on the first floor, and on the second floor they have soft interest from two small businesses that want to move their offices there.”
Parcel 3 will be used for parking in back of the building.
Parcel 2 is right at the corner but the Pequabuck River flows under it so it can’t be built on, she said. “We’re envisioning that to be a little bit of a green space, with maybe a corner decoration that says ‘Centre Square’ or something. Maybe it could have a patio for outdoor dining.”
Next spring, work is expected to begin on Parcel 10, a half-acre lot facing Main Street, between the new Bristol Health building and the railroad trestle. Last September the city finalized the sale of the land to Wesley Cyr and Oliver Wilson of Harwinton for $35,000.
Their letter of intent says they plan to put in a building with ground-floor commercial space and “12 to 15 estimated market-rate apartments” on the upper floors. Justin Malley, Bristol Development Authority executive director, has previously said the Parcel 10 plan would “complete Main Street.”
Zoppo-Sassu said people may have noticed there were environmental test borings being done on Parcel 10 at the end of November, which is preliminary to the construction work.
Since that development will take place on a spot now occupied by a public parking lot, the city also plans to eventually add parallel parking spaces along Riverside between Main and North Main and a parking lot elsewhere in Centre Square accessible from the new Hope Street.
Work will begin on the new parking lot in the spring, in an area currently known as Parcel 9, Zoppo-Sassu said. The area is in the interior of Centre Square, bounded by railroad tracks. Last summer the city paved a 300-foot long strip there for bike riders to practice trick riding, as a way to keep them off public streets and out of traffic.
There will be a lighted walkway from the parking lot to Main Street, she said. “We’re going to create interior parking that everybody can use, including people who want to go to Pint & Plate or The Bristol Press. Eventually, as demand grows, this could become a parking structure, but right now it’s going to be a surface parking lot.”
Zoppo-Sassu noted that Malley has also been meeting with a couple of other interested parties for the parcel directly across from City Hall.
Centre Square was the site of the old Bristol Centre Mall, which the city bought in 2005 and tore down in 2008 to clear the way for new development. The 15-acre property was known as Depot Square until it was renamed in 2016 by the Bristol Development Authority Board.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.