Downtown: Elderly housing development on hold for the time being

  • A crumbled sandcastle sits in a lot on Warren Street. Caitlin Andrews / Monitor staff

Published: 5/19/2019 9:00:43 PM

It looks like the sandy spot that has cropped up in the Warren Street neighborhood won’t be filled anytime soon.

Earlier this year, developer Harold Eckstrom got the go-ahead to tear down properties at 5 – 11 Greenwood Ave. and 56 – 62 Warren St., decades-old buildings that included transitional housing tenants. The idea was to replace the buildings with 38 elderly housing units.

But Planning Department head Heather Shank said the developer has since encountered financial difficulties in moving ahead with the development. In addition, grading and drainage problems at the site have not been addressed.

Construction probably won’t happen on the site for some time and Ekstrom is pursuing other ways to use the site on an interim basis, Shank said.

That could include expanding current parking at the site, or some green space, Shank said. But doing the former would require the developer to return to the Planning Board to amend his site plan approval and rebuilding nearby sidewalks.

Shank said Ekstrom wasn’t interested in doing that, so the site might remain bare for a while. But the developer has a few years to figure out the next step before his Planning Board approval lapses.

 Ekstrom did not return a phone call requesting comment by press time.

As the Monitor reported last week while looking at a CATCH Neighborhood Housing apartment complex proposal, the rental market in the Capital City is tight, with vacancy rates hovering around 1% last year.

That project is encountering resistance from Penacook residents worried about the impact affordable housing may have on their tax rate. Several said the presence of more affordable housing will attract more children to their school district.

Meanwhile, land use and demolition review board materials show reaction to Ekstrom’s development was more mixed. Some residents welcomed more housing, while others worried about how so many more renters in one space would impact the neighborhood.

Of the city’s roughly 1,000 assisted housing units, only 272 of those are reserved for the elderly. As the state continues to age, it will be interesting to see what kinds of housing developments are proposed and how they’ll be received by the public.

Tax bill changes

Concord’s made a few changes to its tax bills for the 2019 season.

The most notable changes, according to a press release, include changing the size of the actual bill to an 8.5 inch by 14 inch piece of paper; including three years of prior tax billing history; boosting the visibility of total delinquent taxes owed by displaying the figure in red in the upper right corner; a brief explanation of the tax rate segments on the back.

We’ll take this time to remind you that the July and October tax bills will be sent out this month. 

Absentee ballots available

Ward 4 residents, don’t forget to grab an absentee ballot if you won’t be in town for the June 4 special election. You can pick those up at city hall.

Edith Chiasson, John Cook and Meredith Hatfield are looking to fill the spot left open when current At-Large Councilor Byron Champlin vacated his seat.

If you want to do a little research, ConcordTV has some candidate clips on YouTube you can check out. As always, we’ll be putting together an election primer in the coming weeks.

Upcoming long weekend

City offices and the library will be closed all day next Monday due to the Memorial Day holiday. Trash pickup will be delayed by one day as well.

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

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