Bristol Marine submits bid for Tourister mill


A Bristol shipyard and marine holdings company is interested in buying the former Warren Manufacturing Company mill in north Warren, which has been in receivership for close to six months since its former owner, M M F Realty, went bankrupt.

Andrew Tyska of Bristol Marine Holdings, LLC submitted a bid to purchase the 14-acre, 490,000 square foot manufacturing facility built in the late 1800s. He did not disclose the offer amount and the attorney appointed as receiver for the  property, Rick Land of Chace, Ruttenberg and Freedman of Providence, declined to talk specifics of any bid. The property is assessed by the town at about $6.45 million.

Mr. Tyska said Bristol Marine wants to continue to house small business, and expand possibilities for new tenants while teaching a new generation of marine and other tradesmen and women. There are currently eight tenants in the mill, from an industrial carpentry shop to a boutique to a catering company.

While he said there are no new tenants waiting in the wings if Bristol Marine purchases the property, Mr. Tyska said his company's business model — keep space occupied and be flexible — fits right in with the sprawling mill property.

The mill "has a wide range of spaces, from low ceiling mill space to high ceiling manufacturing space. There's enough diversity of space to make it attractive," he said. "Our model has been find creative ways to carry that vacant space. When there's vacant space we grow or contract our service space to fill it. When (space is) needed we move our operations because our priority is the growth of our tenant businesses. We're hoping that the Town of Warren will continue to prioritize jobs and business over residential development."

It still remains to be seen whether Bristol Marine's offer will carry the day. There has been talk of another bid, though Mr. Land would not confirm that. He said that his next step in the process is to review any offers and determine whether they're viable. If one is, he said he will file a petition with Rhode Island Superior Court asking that it be accepted.

"I'm under no obligation to accept any bid," Mr. Land said.

If the bid is ultimately accepted, Bristol Marine Holdings could get some help from the town. Warren planners have told Mr. Land that the town is interested in tax increment financing for the property, under which the future owner would provide amenities to the town in return for tax credits. Those amenities, the bid package reads, could include a walking path along the waterfront, sewer line upgrades or a park along the property’s southern edge.

"With its proximity to Warren’s town center and the center of Barrington, the property is prime real estate ripe for redevelopment into an upscale, modern commercial and residential community,” the bid package reads.

Besides being a full service marine facility, Bristol Marine has restored and re-used contaminated, blighted, and neglected parcels of property in Bristol.  Remediation of Bristol's old Miner Industries and Carr-Fulflex mills on Buttonwood Street, and other development, and reuse projects have helped sustain more than 35 businesses and the creation of nearly 300 jobs.

The company owns and operates more than 30 acres of commercial real estate in Bristol, focusing on small marine trades businesses. Their main office is located at 99 Poppasquash Road.


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