After three hearings with the Department of Public Works (DPW), the last signature to cap off the approval of the Site Plan was penned. In addition, McDonald’s is officially moving from the Riverside Avenue site. Renaissance also began conversations on a second set of zoning amendments for transition areas of downtown, including the West End, Summer Street and West Street, to create a more contiguous downtown experience consistent with a walkable urban environment.
After a 90-minute discussion and strong verbal support from the crowdsourced placemaking community, Bristol Rising, the City of Bristol Zoning Commission unanimously approved Phase 1 on February 13, 2013. Several months of collaboration between City boards, the Zoning Commission, and Renaissance helped finalize the plan after its November 2 submission, just two and a half years after Renaissance Downtowns first won the RFP to develop the downtown site.
In light of the recent Zoning Commission Hearings on Phase I, here’s a recap of the previous two months of submissions from Renaissance, including comments from various City Departments, amendments, resubmissions, and deliberations.
25 Bristol Risers showed up in their signature orange to support Renaissance Downtowns as they presented Phase I of the site plan at the Zoning Commission Hearing on December 19, 2012; the first Rising Mob took place at Bare Bones; the Bristol Young Professionals were founded by Bristol Rising members; and the Downtown Living Pioneers Group was initiated.
Renaissance benefitted from a wide range of events and publicity in November, from being featured in a video produced by a state-wide advocacy group, to celebrating Bristol Rising’s second anniversary, hosting a downtown living happy hour and having restaurants educate their patrons about downtown living. Residential letters of intent totaled 51 and counting.
Here are the official Renaissance Downtowns residential and retail recruitment documents for Phase I. Renaissance has also begun talks with other retail tenants through Bristol Rising members that have been frequenting the Barley Vine since its grand opening in October.
Barley Vine (image above), a craft beer pub and restaurant opened by a Bristol Rising member and inspired by the crowd, held a soft opening on Thursday, Sept. 27 for Bristol Rising members to a full house of 120 people.
The 20,000 attendee Pop-Up Piazza Festival on August 4, 2012, assisted Renaissance Downtowns in multiple ways. The most conspicuous benefit was that it garnered additional attention to Bristol and its downtown redevelopment efforts…
New businesses such as Barley Vine, a restaurant featuring craft beers and wine; a new grocery store, Bristol Marketplace; Bristol Billiards, a pool hall; and Bare Bones, a creative event space, are helping Renaissance Downtowns provide evidence to prospective retail tenants that people are willing to invest in downtown retail.
For Renaissance Downtowns, the growth of Bristol Rising has been integral to a planning and approval process that has been completed in a fraction of the time that a normal process would have taken. Master plans alone can take 2-3 years to complete. In Bristol, the Concept Master Plan, the main plan for the entire downtown, was completed in just nine months…
When Renaissance Downtowns, a visionary triple-bottom-line real estate development firm that won an RFP to develop 17 acres of failed shopping mall into a thriving downtown destination, decided to give crowdsourced placemaking a shot in October 2010, they didn’t quite expect such, well, extraordinary results…