Concord estimates $41.5 million cost for renovation and expansion plan for new police HQ

The former Concord Group Insurance Companies building.

The former Concord Group Insurance Companies building.

An temporary holding cell is seen at the Concord City Police Department on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

An temporary holding cell is seen at the Concord City Police Department on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

A temporary holding cell is seen at the Concord City Police Department in 2016.

A temporary holding cell is seen at the Concord City Police Department in 2016. Moniotor file photos

By CATHERINE McLAUGHLIN

Monitor staff

Published: 04-05-2024 2:56 PM

Modified: 04-07-2024 1:40 PM


Four months after agreeing to buy the former Concord Group Insurance building along North State Street for $4.1 million, city councilors will consider spending another $41.5 million or more to transform it into a new police headquarters.

City staff recommends renovating and expanding the existing structure instead of demolishing it and building anew.

Compared to new construction, adapting and adding onto the 1957 office building would be about $7 million cheaper, have more square footage, include more parking, and preserve “one of the few quality examples of mid-century architecture in Concord,” according to a report from Deputy City Manager for Development Matt Walsh.

The total estimated cost for the project would be $41,504,255, not including the purchase price, with a target construction timeline beginning in April 2026 and ending with a functioning station by November 2027.

The current police station on Green Street, at about 22,000 square feet, is said to be too small to meet the department’s needs, lacking sufficient staff parking and an obstacle to the department receiving state and national accreditation. The city moved towards the purchase of the Concord Group property at its last meeting of the year: the outgoing council approved a purchase and sale agreement with developer Steve Duprey — who acquired the building through lease negotiations with the Concord Group — in December.

Included in the $41.5 million estimate is $15 million to renovate the current structure and $14.3 million for roughly 13,000 square feet of added space. The project also includes $2 million for site work, $600,000 for security and $300,000 for asbestos abatement. City capital improvement plans anticipated $27.5 million for the project on top of the property purchase.

The new 52,000 square feet police station would be more than double the size of the existing headquarters and have room for the City Prosecutor’s office, which currently spends about $41,000 annually on rent, according to a previous report. A 2021 city study said a police station should be 27,700 square feet, and the existing Concord Group building is nearly 39,000. The reconfiguration would decrease the amount of parking currently on the site from 113 to 91 spaces, though that’s still a jump from the 37 currently reserved at Green Street for police staff.

Property inspections found the building in “excellent structural condition” but did locate lead paint and asbestos that would need to be removed. Additionally, full window replacement on the large glass exterior is recommended for energy efficiency, and accessibility improvements to make the station compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act would be required, along with other updates.

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Knocking down the current structure and building a new one is estimated to carry a $45 million price tag — though that’s based on an unlikely 2025 construction date, according to the report. The same timeline would have pegged renovation and expansion at $38 million, which grew to $1.5 million based on the proposed 2026 start date. At about 47,000 square feet, new facilities would be largely similar to those proposed in the renovation option but would add an on-site firing range.

At its regular meeting Monday night, the Concord City Council will consider Walsh’s report and whether to authorize the city manager to complete the sale — the city must close on the property by June 12.