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City officials concerned with hospital downtown deal — Possible completion date 2020

Former mall site

Former mall site

The term “blank canvas” can refer to so many different things, both literal and metaphorical. However, all meanings have in common the idea of a starting point.

The dreams of a new re-branded, cookie cutter downtown Bristol is over.

Very over.

Current leaders in Bristol now have a “blank canvas” to get downtown moving in the right direction.

Last year Bristol Hospital took the bait on the “blank canvas”, they offered big plans for downtown Bristol. If those plans work out, the Hospital will erect a four-story 150,000-square-foot building at Main Street and Riverside Avenue.

This week, the City council held a special meeting to discuss another extension for Bristol Hospital.

No one was happy.

The Bristol Press reported officials are very nervous and concerned about the progress of the project.

“We all want to see this work, but we’re getting very anxious,” [Dave] Mills said. “We anticipated seeing a shovel in the ground this year. People of Bristol don’t want to wait.”

Despite the concerns, the council approved the extension.

This is the fourth extension since their announcement.

This extension between the City and Bristol Hospital has pushed back the deal until Feb. 28, 2017.

Bristol Hospital President Kurt Barwis said the projects completion date could be in December 2019 or spring of 2020.

Catch up on the details:

The Hartford Courant reported that “The nonprofit hospital and the city are still in the early stages of talks, but Barwis [Bristol Hospital President] said his hope is to build in partnership with a developer that would create first-floor retail — possibly a pharmacy, restaurant and other stores. The city has been trying to attract those sorts of storefront commercial uses into its stagnant downtown for more than a decade.”

NBC Connecticut mentioned the downtown proposal is a $30 million deal that would take five acres off of the former mall site. That’s about a third of the property.

In a Bristol Press article, Barwis said “Our current hospital campus has reached its capacity with respect to space for existing and new services and the parking that is required for those services,” it said, creating a necessity to build more somewhere else to “to offer new service lines that the community currently lacks.”

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