$23 million Bristol Place renovation moves forward

$23 million Bristol Place renovation moves forward

Hear from mayor Deb Feinen Wednesday at 4:20 on WDWS.

CHAMPAIGN — The long-spanning Bristol Place redevelopment project got one step closer to completion Tuesday when the city council voted unanimously to approve the project's $23 million first site plan.

The Housing Authority of Champaign County and Champaign decided in 2012 to completely redevelop the Bristol neighborhood - bordered by East Roper Street on the north, North Chestnut Street on the east, East Bradley Avenue on the south and North Market Street on the west -  into majority affordable housing. Jim Roberts, with minority-owned, Chicago-based AHDVS LLC, is the project's developer.

The first Bristol site plan lays out 60 single-family and 30 multifamily units. Kerri Wiman, Champaign's neighborhood programs manager, said a berm will section off the area's nearby railroad tracks to reduce noise.

Wiman also said roundabouts are planned for Garwood and Bellefontaine streets because of engineering and construction issues.

Garwood will also become a pedestrian walkway, to provide a grand entrance or gateway into the neighborhood.

The next and final site plan will include two apartment buildings for senior citizens.

Across the first site plan are two-, three- and four-bedroom options. Another feature, Wiman said, will be a diversity of tenant income.

Projected rent and utilities costs, as of May 25, show that Bristol will have 41 two-bedroom units at $852, 43 three-bedroom units at $953 and six four-bedroom units at $1,172. For those who can't pay their rent and utilities in full, the housing authority will make up the difference with its 84 vouchers for this project. Vouchers will go to those who are employed or receiving education or training, unless they're seniors or disabled.

To further avoid building what she calls "islands of poverty," Wiman said the plan contains one manager unit and five market rate units that don't qualify as affordable housing.

The city is set to finish acquiring and clearing the current Bristol properties by the end of this year. The city council also voted Tuesday to allow the use of eminent domain and "quick-take" for some properties where the city and landlord couldn't agree on a sale price. "Quick-take" "is the statutory method to obtain early possession of property in a condemnation action," according to a city council memo. Eminent domain and quick-take were already used once before for Bristol properties and are scheduled to be used again in the future.

The city will apply by this Friday and June 23 for a $750,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago and $15 million in tax credits from the Illinois Housing Development Authority, respectively. Wiman said the city will hear back by September or October, and if it isn't accepted, it will have to apply again next year.

If the city gets the grants, Wiman said it will do financial closing and a final master development agreement next January through March. After the closing, she said the city will remove itself from the project's ownership structure. Construction on the first site plan is slated to last from March 2018 to September 2019.

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Orbiter wrote on June 14, 2017 at 3:06 pm

This is the first I've heard of the project.  How is it that the News-Gazette can publish this story and neglect to give out even a SINGLE address to help us find it on a map?  There is NO SUCH STREET named "Bristol Place".  Best I could do was to google up some other map that might not even be relevant anymore:


Now IF this map of the project is correct, it seems truly stupid to be placing all the residences immediately adjacent to the railroad tracks, berm notwithstanding.  Why not mirror-image the plan, so that the residences are farther from the tracks?  Let the park be next to the railroad. And yes, build a berm.


Anyway, my major complaint is that today's news story gives NO address or intersection information to help residents locate the planned re-development.  Truly unhelpful, News-Gazette.

Dan Corkery wrote on June 14, 2017 at 3:06 pm
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Thank you for your comments.

The Bristol Place neighborhood has been the subject of 40-some stories, according to our electronic archive. I have worked here for 37 years and recall stories about the so-called "Green Apartments" dating back to the early 1980s.

We have published about 20 stories focused on old-house demolition and neighborhood redevelopment, starting in June 2012.

Here's one by then-NG reporter Patrick Wade:


Johnathan Hettinger and Natalie Wickman have also contributed to this body of work.

If you wish to do more reading, I recommend searching our website for "Bristol Place neighborhood."

Dan Corkery

managing editor 

Orbiter wrote on June 16, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Thanks for the reply, Dan.  Some readers may have only recently moved here and not have the 37 years of experience in town that you do. Others (like me) can't keep up with every news item, and research it far back to get our bearings.  I just think it would have been nice for the writer to include a description of the location (e.g., "the few square blocks bounded by N. Market, E. Bradley, and the railroad tracks, in Champaign.").  Yes, a bit of research on the reader's part helps, too, but if that was all we needed, why bother reading the N-G?  At the least, a GPS coordinate or a map link would have been nice.  Particularly in a case where the headline names something specific "Bristol Place" which DOES NOT EXIST.  Perhaps the writer could have merely said "the neighborhood surrounding Bristol Park".    When I did a mapping query for "Bristol Place", I got a hit down in the Savoy area and was confused.  


Anyway, I wanted to acknowledge your reply to my complaint, even if we disagree on the issue.  

Cheers.  :-)