Jack Firneno, the Wire
More and more people are coming to Bristol Borough. And, soon, some of them will have a new place to stay — for good.
Earlier this month, Team Construction broke ground on the new Mill Street Wharf at the corner of Mill and Radcliffe streets. The complex, owned by JVS Properties, will consist of five townhomes facing the Delaware River and five more condos above a new bar and restaurant, two of which will face the river.
According to co-owner Joe Ventresca, the waterway was the big selling point for the location. “I’ve been looking for years for a residence on the river,” he said in a phone interview after the groundbreaking.
JVS owns some 40 properties in New Jersey, but none until now fit that description. And, when Ventresca learned about plans to open a marina on the river across the street from the property, along with the borough’s many activities already, the lot was an obvious choice.
“There’s a lot of activity — there’s something going on every weekend from May to October,” he noted.
But, it’s more than just a new building. According to Bill Pezza, president of the Raising the Bar Committee and one of the handful of Bristolians who came out for the groundbreaking, “It’s a catalyst for good things to come.”
In fact, the Wharf is just one of many new projects aimed at revitalizing Bristol.
Over the past year and a half, groups like the Raising the Bar Committee and Bristol Borough Business Association have spearheaded projects like procuring grants to renovate building facades along Mill Street, opening the new Bristol Borough Center for the Arts, and establishing First Friday events throughout the summer.
The Mill Street Wharf is the first of new housing construction in the borough, and plans to build and open a marina along the Delaware across the street from it are in full swing. Slated for completion in the spring, people have already put down deposits on four of the units, which range from 2,500 to 3,500 square feet and run from $475,000 to $575,000.
“Once people come to Bristol, they find out it’s a hidden gem,” said Joanna Schneyder, vice president of the Raising the Bar Committee, at the groundbreaking.
She cited the many people recently who have come from as far as northern New Jersey and New York, along with other parts of Bucks County, to look at homes here. “They’re realizing that this is a great community on the river.”
In fact, at least one such visitor has realized that — and already set up shop.
“The water’s beautiful. So many people come down here just to relax. It’s mesmerizing,” said Robert Stafford.
Stafford is one of the new co-owners of the King George Inn. He took over six months ago, after having lunch in town and “falling in love with the waterfront.” When he learned about the recent revitalization efforts and proposed projects, “I knew the town was invested in the community, and that Bristol is up-and-coming.”
Although there’ll be some competition with a new eatery opening catty-corner to the King George, Stafford sees it as an advantage in the long run: “More and more people are choosing Bristol as a destination for theater and shopping. The new restaurant will add to the growth of the town.”