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Downtown: Apartments to pop up off Main Street

  • Concord Housing recently purchased 10-12 S. State St., pictured here, as well as the 4 Wall St. building in Concord.

  • Elm Grove Companies recently purchased four buildings in the downtown area that it plans to renovate. Photos by CAITLIN ANDREWS / Monitor staff

  • Elm Grove Companies recently purchased four buildings in the downtown area. The area around Pleasant Street has attracted the interest of developers, who will be adding dozens of apartments to the downtown. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

  • Elm Grove Companies recently purchased four buildings in the downtown area. The area around Pleasant Street has attracted the interest of developers, who will be adding dozens of apartments to the downtown. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

  • Elm Grove Companies recently purchased four buildings in the downtown area. The area around Pleasant Street has attracted the interest of developers, who will be adding dozens of apartments to the downtown. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Monday, December 04, 2017

A corner of downtown has caught the interest of developers with philosophical differences on what types of apartments the housing market demands.

Concord Housing & Redevelopment recently purchased two buildings that it plans to turn into three large apartments, each about 1,500 square feet. A Manchester development company is taking a different approach with a plan to create 41 smaller downtown apartments, some of which may be as tiny as 250 square feet.

 

First, the big

 

Concord Housing & Redevelopment intends to turn 4 Wall Street into two apartments, each with two bedrooms, according to executive director John Hoyt. The property has been on the market since 2016.

Those familiar with the location might recall it was once the site of Concord Family Dentistry, which left the location a little over a year ago. That’s going to present a slight challenge for the developer. The building’s current layout is divided into several small waiting and exam rooms, each equipped with a sink.

Renovating the space will mean stripping everything back “to the studs,” Hoyt said, a project he estimates will cost $200,000, slightly more than the $188,000 Concord Housing paid for the building.

Kitty-corner to 4 Wall St. is 10-12 S. State St., which Hoyt said Concord Housing also recently purchased for $212,000.

You know, the one with duct tape over the windows? That’s going to an apartment, too, and like 4 Wall St., bigger living seems to be the name of the game. Hoyt estimates all three new apartments will be 1,500 square feet.

That kind of space isn’t going to come cheap. Hoyt said the apartments at 4 Wall St. will rent for between $1,300 and $1,500 a month, and the S. State St. apartment will go for $1,100 to $1,400. No utilities are included, but there is off-street parking.

With all that space, you’d think a developer would want to maximize the number of apartments they could build, but Hoyt said there’s demand for big apartments close to downtown. Plus, it’s easier to develop a few big units than several small ones.

“Then you start getting into problems with fire code and running up the cost of construction,” he said. “More units means more walls, more sinks, a new boiler for each unit. You could price yourself right out of the market.”

And then, the small

 

Just down the road, a Manchester-based property management company making its first appearance in the Capital City is taking a different approach.

Elm Grove Companies announced in October the purchase of four brick buildings, including 5-7 S. State, 15-17 Pleasant Street, 26-32 Pleasant Street, and 19 Pleasant Street. The price tag was $2.4 million, according to the company’s web site.

Totaling more than 45,000 square feet of space, the buildings will be mixed use, with the current business tenants remaining in place. And unlike Concord Housing, Elm Grove isn’t shy about maximizing their space – they intend to turn the remaining square footage into 41 apartments, with options ranging from “micro-living ‘mini flats,’” and one-to-three bedroom apartments, according to their web site.

Think real small when you think micro; like, 250 to 400 square feet.

Elm Grove’s David Schleyer wrote in a press release that “The response by the city, local developers and community organizations in welcoming Elm Grove has been heartwarming. The city cares about downtown’s revitalization and has been aggressive in breaking down barriers and helping us define a clear path toward a successful re-development.”

Concord’s poised to become a little friendlier to Elm Grove – the city administration is recommending the Concord City Council approve the company’s six-year  RSA 79-E Community Revitalization Tax Relief incentive for the 5-7 S. State and 15-17 Pleasant Streets properties at their next meeting.

Approval of the applications would save the developers a fair chunk of change – $370,000 between the two properties, to be precise. The 5-7 S. State St. property’s current assessed value is $1 million, according to a report written by Deputy City Manager Matt Walsh; when it’s renovated, the city figures the building’s value will more than double to $2.5 million. Renovation is expected to cost $2.9 million.

The 15-17 Pleasant St. property is expected to see a similar value boost, Walsh wrote, going from a current value of $675,000 to $1.1 million. Redoing that property is expected to cost $2 million.

Walsh notes in his report that the RSA 79-E benefit only applies to that portion of the assessed valuation created by the proposed improvements. Therefore, the applicant will still be obligated to pay taxes on the base value of the property, including any taxes associated with increases to the base assessed value of the properties due to market inflation.

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, candrews@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)