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Tax break to help fund renovations at Allenstown apartment complex

  • Kaylee Moutminy, a student at NHTI, outside the Riverbridge Apartments in Allenstown this week. Derry-based developer Al Croteau purchased the 41-unit Riverbridge Apartments that overlook the Suncook river in late April for $1.4 million and has since been busy rehabilitating the once-dilapidated building’s inside and outside. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Kaylee Moutminy, a student at NHTI, outside the Riverbridge Apartments in Allenstown this week. Derry-based developer Al Croteau purchased the 41-unit Riverbridge Apartments that overlook the Suncook river in late April for $1.4 million and has since been busy rehabilitating the once-dilapidated building’s inside and outside. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Thursday, June 08, 2017

An Allenstown apartment building is getting a half-a-million-dollar renovation, and its new owner will get a five-year tax break totaling about $85,000 from the town to help finance it.

Derry-based developer Al Croteau purchased the 41-unit Riverbridge Apartments that overlook the Suncook River in late April for $1.4 million and has since been busy rehabilitating the once-dilapidated building inside and out.

Croteau plans to charge between $700 and $1,000 for the apartments, which range from 350 to 575 square feet. Rent will include utilities and, in some cases, one of the 24 storage units in the building. In some cases, that’s a big bump – rents range right now from $600 to $800, he said.

Croteau said he purchased the property for its “historic” red-brick frontage.

“It’s got so much curb appeal. But it needs a lot of work,” he said.

Croteau planned to spend $411,000 on renovations but said he’d since stretched his estimates to $450,000 or so.

“As we keep digging in the building we keep finding booby traps,” he said.

Ultimately, the building will get a new energy-efficient heating system, LED lighting, 116 new windows, security cameras, roof repairs, newly painted trim, a resurfaced rear parking lot, a new laundry room, and re-faced brick. The eleven currently empty apartments will be individually renovated.

The apartment complex used to be separate buildings, according to Croteau, and were apparently consolidated in the 1970s. The building, whose individual parts date back to the late 1800s, have served as an opera house, a grocery store, and a saloon, he said.

Town administrator Shaun Mulholland said Croteau’s work is right in line with what community leaders are hoping for.

“This fits into our idea of revitalizing the downtown area,” he said.

Allenstown has historically suffered from high taxes and a tiny tax base, as much of the town is taken up by tax-exempt Bear Brook State Park.

The select board last month unanimously approved Croteau’s project for a tax break under RSA 79-E, a law meant to encourage the rehabilitation of historic properties.

“I thought it was great that someone was showing interest in the town, especially that portion of the town,” said selectman Ryan Carter.

“(The tax break) signals that Allenstown is open for business, open for development,” he said.

That means that for five years, Croteau’s property taxes won’t factor in the money he spent to improve the property, Mulholland said. He estimated the annual tax savings at about $17,000, for a total of roughly $85,000.

Back at the apartments, residents said they were glad for the upgrades and that they’d been told their rents wouldn’t go up without improvements to their individual units.

“They’re coming along quite nicely,” resident Barbara Snee said. “And they’re very accommodating.”