What a view: Belvedere at Bristol project complete


After seven years, Jim Roiter's vision for the once-bustling Belvedere Hotel is complete.

The building, located at 423 Hope St., was built in 1901 by craftsmen employed at the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company. The four-story, 100-room hotel housed Herreshoff's wealthiest of clients while they were in Bristol, overseeing the construction of their boats.

Following the Great Depression, and late, a lack of sound investors, the building remained vacant and in a state of disrepair for most of the 1990s.

Reviving the hotel, and rehabbing it into a private condominium complex, was Mr. Roiter's legacy to Bristol, he had said.

"It's finally come together and I'm glad to see that we've come to this point," he said as he spoke with several who had gathered at the Belvedere last Thursday night for its open house.

Mr. Roiter presented his plans to turn the old hotel into Belvedere at Bristol to the town in the summer of 2006. At that point, he had acquired two other properties within that vicinity: A Greek-revival home on John Street, and another colonial carriage home on State Street. The three properties would be renovated, providing for 18 residential units - 14 in the hotel, and two in each of the other properties.

The fourth piece of the project is a proposed building to be constructed along the Thames and State street intersection. The main level would be retail space, while the upper levels would be residential. This phase has been temporarily put on hold due to a lack of financing, Mr. Roiter said. He's hopeful to start construction soon, once some of the units in the hotel start selling.

There is also a two-level garage in the center of the block that's part of the complex. Mr. Roiter is currently before the Historic District Commission and Planning Board to modify the top level of parking garage into an open space, complete with a pool.

Over the years, Mr. Roiter invested about $20 million into the project, he's said. Once the hotel was converted into residential units, they were rented out. He was legally unable to sell the units due to a Historic Preservation Tax Credit the project was granted. Once the credit expired in five years - January 2014 - the units would be able to be sold.

On the fifth floor, Mr. Roiter constructed two penthouses, each on the market for a cool $1.4 million. Both offer sky-scraping views of downtown Bristol and unobstructed views of Bristol Harbor.

"It's really amazing that they've been able to take a historic building and preserve it to the extent that they did," said Town Councilman Halsey Herreshoff.

Mr. Herreshoff and his family were the guests of honor during Thursday's open house. In paying homage to the Herreshoff and the building's legacy, Mr. Roiter commissioned several paintings, depicting the boat-building era and blended with graphics.

The residences in the hotel are on the market starting at $425,000 and range in price up to the $1.4 million penthouse.


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