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Walker apartments could open in ‘15

The first residents of low-income apartments in the former Walker School could unpack in their new homes in 2015, a development group told Concord School District officials last night.

Stratford Capital Group of Peabody, Mass., was the only developer to respond to a request for proposals for the reuse of the Walker School building this spring.

The company proposed adding 16,000 square feet onto Walker School (which is currently about 30,000 square feet) and using the space for 41 affordable senior housing apartments. The proposal budget offers $12,500 per unit, up to $512,500 for the building and land if all 41 units are approved.

Last night, principals from the company presented their plan to the Concord School Board’s joint facilities and finance committee.

Because they plan to use historic tax credits and financing from the Community Development Finance Authority, the earliest they could be ready for construction is the spring of 2014, according to Rich Hayden, Stratford’s executive vice president.

The company is also interested in redesigning the plans, which are based on a feasibility study by district consultant Michael Castagna, to accommodate more units, to make the project more profitable, said Keith McDonald, Stratford’s assistant vice president.

Typically, projects of between 50 and 65 units are in the ‘’sweet spot for financing,’’ he said.

If the board enters a purchase and sales agreement with Stratford, the group would begin in-depth studies of the market and environment, and begin the zoning and planning process with the city government.

The next opportunity to apply for tax credits is in September 2013, McDonald said.

‘’The sooner you give us an answer, the more detail we can give to the next steps,’’ he said. ‘’They like seeing that a project is ready. The sooner you get motivated to sell, the better off the project will be to get funding.’’

The committee did not make any recommendations on the proposal.

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or or on Twitter @SpalermoNews.)’

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