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A year later, Dol-Soul project in downtown Concord still in planning phase

  • The former Department of Employment Security building on South Main Street. Monitor file

  • An early concept design of what Dol-Soul Properties’s project would look like. Monitor file

Monitor staff
Published: 10/6/2018 10:32:54 PM

Demolition of the former Department of Employment Security building has been pushed to next spring to give developers more time to complete market studies.

Concord got the go-ahead to enter into a purchase and sales agreement with Dol-Soul Properties LLC to tear down and rebuild the South Main Street property a year ago. The parties were supposed to close on the sale at the end of September, but the purchase agreement allows for the deadline to be extended as needed while the developer completes its due diligence. 

It looked like that might have been the case in April, when city manager Tom Aspell reported in a city council priorities update that the due diligence process was “completed,” and demolition would take place this fall. However, the deadline has since been extended at least twice, according to subsequent updates and deputy city manager of development Matt Walsh. The new deadline is Nov. 30.

“Although the developer had completed some of its due diligence (such as title review and environmental assessments), more time was needed to refine preliminary designs, market studies, financial pro formas, as well as to research utilities,” he said in a series of emails. 

Walsh said it’s not uncommon for development projects to need more time. The sales agreement certainly recognizes this. Multiple sections contain language that allows closing on the property to be extended until the project meets certain milestones.

The city has already completed two items. It rezoned the DES building’s location from urban commercial to central business performance and amended the city’s impact fee ordinance so that the project’s impact fees would be capped at $150,000.

It also revamped its parking permit system, another agreement with Dol-Soul, and agreed to provide up to 82 permit parking spaces to support redevelopment of the Employment Security property, pending the total number of residential units developed, and the total number of parking spaces provided by the developer.

The developer still needs to receive any necessary state or federal permits, formal planning board site plan approvals and lease agreements from tenants before the city will demolish the building at a cost of $300,000. 

The Concord City Council voted to sell the property to Dol-Soul for $1.08 million last year, roughly a third of what the city has put into the building. The city bought the building and lot for $1.58 million in 2014 and has spent several hundred thousand dollars to weatherproof it. The city also paid about $2 million to bury the power lines in front of the site during the Main Street project. 

But the city has estimated the property, which is expected to turn into a seven-story building with 5,000 square feet of commercial space and 109 market-rate apartments, will have a $12.5 million value when the project is completed.

It’s estimated to bring in $5.6 million in revenues over the course of 10 years, the bulk of which would be made up of property taxes and the sale of the property. 

Dol-Soul Properties is a group consisting of three entities: a real estate firm called Dolben Co. Inc. based in Woburn, Mass.; Vermont developer Ari Souliotis, who owns a number of Dunkin’ Donuts locations in that state; and Tim Vanech, founding partner of a Norwood, Mass., investment firm called Shorepoint Capital Partners.

Dol-Soul Properties owns Pembroke Place on Manchester Street and Penacook Place on Fisherville Road in Concord.

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

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