Bristol Place Project Awarded Funding As Last Family Moves Out

A boarded-up house in Champaign's Bristol Place neighborhood.

A boarded-up house on Garwood Street in Champaign's Bristol Place neighborhood awaits demolition.

Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

The last family was scheduled to move out of Champaign’s Bristol Place Friday, as the city and local housing authority prepare the north side neighborhood for redevelopment. Meanwhile, a major funding component for the new development meant to replace the old neighborhood was approved in Chicago.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority voted to approved up to $1.5 million in federal low-income housing tax credits to help pay for the construction of the first phase of new housing in Bristol Place, which is located on the northeast corner of the intersection of Bradley Avenue and Market Street on Champaign’s north side. The new development will consist of 90 units, mostly single-family but with some multi-family buildings. Monthly rents are expected to range from $400 to $900, depending on tenants’ income eligibility.

The improvements will also include flood control upgrades to the Boneyard Creek that runs through the area between Bristol Park and the Bristol Place residential area. City officials say that project will continue flood control improvements made to other parts of the creek downstream.

Champaign Neighborhood Programs Manager Kerri Wiman says they are looking forward to their developer, AHDVS, LLC, getting started on construction in the spring. The Orland Park-based developer specializes in affordable housing development.

“They’ve been excited about, probably most importantly, about our revitalization plan, and the fact that city is working with other partners just to transform this entire area”, said Wiman.

Those other partners include the Champaign Park District, which will oversee construction of a new community center and park facilities in nearby Human Kinetics Park. The upgrade will be used by the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club, but is also meant to serve Bristol Place and other nearby neighborhoods, including Garwood and the Shadow Wood mobile home park.

AHDVS Senior Project Manager Jim Roberts says construction will start in the spring of 2018. He says the units will have attached garages and 2 to 4 bedrooms. And Roberts says the development will also include a community center, including programmed activities, such as after-school programs, to engage children until their parents get home from work.  

“We think the housing, plus those type of support services will make this a community of choice for working families, and encourage good stewardship of our homes and our new neighborhood,” said Roberts.

Phase one of the new Bristol Place project is expected to cost nearly $23 million. Wiman says nearly $14 million of that will come from equity realized from the federal tax credits awarded by the Illinois Housing Development Authority. Other funding comes from the city of Champaign and the Housing Authority of Champaign County, plus state housing tax credits provided by the city’s donation of the cleared Bristol Place site to the new development.

The city is in the process of demolishing all of the remaining buildings at Bristol Place, except for the Family Dollar store at Bradley and Market streets. Most of the buildings are houses, but the former Apostolic Faith Church on Belfontaine Street is also slated to be town down. 

Of the 91 properties identified by the city in 2014, Wiman says about 26 buildings still await demolition, and that 17 are expected to be torn down quickly, as their owners have already agreed to sell them to the city. The city is going ahead with eminent domain proceedings on other structures.

City and Housing Authority officials want the new Bristol Park development to replace a neighborhood they say had fallen prey to crime and blight. However, the project was criticized during the planning staged by those who accused the city of trying to gentrify a primarily African-American neighborhood.

Demolition of the old Bristol Place is expected to be completed by February of 2018. Wiman says AHDVS will begin construction of Phase One of the new Bristol Place ins spring 2018, in the hopes of completing it by early winter of 2019.

Story source: WILL