Construction Underway On New Bristol Place Development

Construction site for Bristol Place Residences.

The construction site in north Champaign where Bristol Place Residences is being built, replacing the old Bristol Place neighborhood.

Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

Construction has begun on Phase One of Bristol Place Residences, a new subsidized housing development meant to replace the century-old Bristol Place neighborhood on Champaign’s north side.

Construction work began while financial agreements for the development were still being wrapped up. Champaign Neighborhood Services Director Kerri Wiman says with winter on the way, they wanted to start quickly on building foundations.

“I believe they’re working on about 38 foundations right now,” said Wiman. “All the roads have been removed. We actually have been out there recently. It’s really exciting to see the work that’s underway. And it’s slated for complete construction by early 2020.”

The city of Champaign bought and cleared out the entire Bristol Place neighborhood for the project, on the grounds that the neighborhood was plagued by crime and blight that could not be eradicated without rebuilding the area from scratch. The city moved residents to homes in other areas, and demolished dozens of houses and other buildings, some dating back to the 1890’s. The last buildings in the old Bristol Place were torn down in March.

The city then handed the land over to Oak Grove Development Corporation, the non-profit development arm of the Housing Authority of Champaign County. Oak Grove is working with developer Jim Roberts and his firm AHDVS, which specializes in affordable housing.

AHDVS is directing the construction of 64 single-family homes and 26 townhouse apartment units for Phase One of Bristol Place Residences.   Plans for a later, second phase call for two apartment buildings for seniors.

The street layout for Bristol Place Residences will be different from the old Bristol Place neighborhood, which was built on a street pattern laid out at the turn of the last century. But some of the new streets will bear the names of families that have a long history in the old neighborhood.

Champaign Neighborhood Services Director Kerri Wiman says a committee that included former Bristol Place residents suggested the names for three of the new streets ---- Giboney, Posey and Ballard.

“Giboney is actually related to the apostolic church that was founded in the neighborhood for several decades,” said Wiman, referring to Apostolic Faith Church, which was located on Bellfontaine Street before the old Bristol Place’s demolition (the church has since moved to  Urbana). “Posey is actually several different family members that lived in the neighborhood over the years. And then Ballard is another family that operated a small business in the neighborhood for several decades … It was a home-based shoe repair company.”

Wiman said that other new street names in Bristol Place include Tower Street, named for the Illinois-American Water tower that can be seen to the southwest of the neighborhood. Another new street, Alberta Way, is named for the mother of developer Jim Roberts.

In addition to the new residential development, the old Bristol Park on the east edge of the neighborhood will be replaced with a detention area to control flooding on the portion of Boneyard Creek that runs through it.

A formal groundbreaking ceremony for Bristol Place Residences is scheduled for November 30th.

Story source: WILL