Here’s a tour of the Concord construction projects bringing housing, new businesses to city

  • The renovation of the former Department of Employment building on South Main Street in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • A construction crane has been brought in for the project at the shopping plaza on Storrs Street in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The construction of a new Popeye’s at 306 Loudon Road in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The site work has begun at 192-194 Loudon Road in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The renovation of the former Department of Employment building on South Main Street in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • A crane has been brought in for the project at the shopping plaza on Storrs Street in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The demolition and site work has begun on the old rail yards off of Langdon Street in the South End for a new apartment complex. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The demolition of the building across the street from Banks Chevrolet on Manchester Street in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 9/8/2022 4:22:04 PM

Several Concord development projects are bringing high-profile changes across the city, including new restaurant spaces and much-needed residential units. In the months ahead, project managers will continue to demolish old buildings, set foundations before the winter frost and finish construction in a few places.

Several multi-family and single-family affordable housing complexes and new businesses are due to open in the city as early as the spring, including a coffee shop, two restaurants, a car dealership and a car wash, city officials said.

Here’s a look at some of the projects in the works.

South End housing

Construction workers broke ground in August on one of the city’s biggest new developments on Langdon Avenue where 199 rental units will be built, said Carlos Baia, deputy city manager for development. The first certificates of occupancy could be issued by the fall of 2023.

Situated between South Main Street and the railroad, the complex will feature affordable apartments, a community clubhouse, a fitness center and two commercial units spread between four larger buildings and two smaller, three-story buildings when all phases are complete.

“They’re doing some dirt work right now and they’re still very early on in their process,” Baia said. “It will still be a while before they get the buildings open for residents.”

When the project was first presented to the Planning Board in the summer of 2021, Massachusetts developer Dakota Partners estimated construction could take between 12 and 18 months.

Downtown living

The former Department of Employment Security building is being prepared for total demolition as exterior yellow and blue panels have been removed and asbestos is cleared from the structure. The initial preparation began in July and is still underway.

Once demolished, developers plan to construct a six-story building with 64 housing units, a first-floor parking garage, a fitness center, a pool and a pergola. A construction date has not yet been set, city planners said. Still, they expect the apartments to be ready by the end of 2023.

“They’re working on the demolition, which is the next phase that should happen in the next few weeks,” Baia said.

The city purchased the building from the state in 2014 for $1.575 million. The sale and development process since has proceeded in fits and starts.

A previous deal with Dol-Soul Properties fell through, and last fall, the discovery of additional asbestos on the building’s exterior delayed the closing date with the John J. Flatley Company.

In all, Concord has poured more than $2 million into the property. After fees, grants and a final sale price of $350,000 from Flatley, the city’s net investment will be about $1.6 million.

Construction of both housing complexes is beginning in the middle of a housing shortage in Concord with the vacancy rate for rentals falling below 1%. In May, the Concord Housing Authority stopped taking applications for low-income housing vouchers due to a shortage of places to live.

City planners and state officials hope the additional housing will provide much-needed homes to Concord’s workforce at a time when rentals are sparse and rent is soaring.

Storrs Street frontage

Several businesses could open by the end of the year in the Capitol Shopping Center on Storrs Street, including 110 Grill, a coffee shop and an unnamed retail store, city planners said.

“They are putting the foundation in right now and hoping to be open by the end of the calendar year, which is pretty ambitious,” Baia said.

With the foundation installed, construction workers can spend the remainder of the fall and the beginning of winter working on the stand-alone structure, which is a first in the shopping plaza since it was built in the 1960s.

Developers broke ground in a portion of the plaza’s parking lot in July that was not being used for parking, Baia said. Even with the removal of those spaces, the lot is still expected to have ample parking for shoppers.

“This is a positive use for that site. They’ve worked hard with city staff and the Planning Board to bring buildings up to create store frontage on Storrs Street,” he continued. “They should be complimented for doing that.”

The original, half-century-old shopping center sits back from the street.

When Brixmor Property Group first presented their plans to expand the plaza, they mentioned a drive-through Starbucks. However, as negotiations continued, the brand name was excluded from discussions and the space was referred to as a coffee shop. Brixmor could not be reached for comment on the business's name.

Back in Concord

City planners are excited to welcome Grappone back to Concord after the car dealership moved to Bow a half-century ago.

“We are very happy to have them come back to Concord,” Baia said. “They were in Concord decades ago and made the investment to get back into the city.”

A former auction building later used as a storage facility for Grappone was demolished last month and the Mazda dealership will be built in its place within the next year and a half.

“It wasn’t a large building, but it came down. They’re clearing the site and getting ready to start their work,” Baia said.

The dealership will sit across the street from Banks Chevrolet and GM and there are also Jeep and Kia dealerships nearby.

Popular eatery

Developers are set to pour a foundation on Loudon Road in preparation for the construction of a Popeyes that will be built next to the Harbor Freight store.

The restaurant will mark the third location in the state of New Hampshire.

“They haven’t told us this, but based on the pattern we are seeing with developers in the area, we expect they are looking to get as much done this year and open sometime in 2023,” Baia said.

One of four in New England

The first of its kind in the state and one of four in the New England area, a Washville car wash is slated to open on Loudon Road near the Dairy Queen next year.

The nearest Washville to the Concord area is located in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

“They’re doing the site work right now and want to get the foundation in before the winter and work through the winter on this project to open next year,” Baia said. “We’ve had a burst of projects lately.”

The car wash chain offers monthly memberships for unlimited car washes for $29.99 with the promise of a modern and convenient car wash experience for customers.

Jamie Costa

Jamie Costa joined the Monitor in September 2022 as the city reporter covering all things Concord, from crime and law enforcement to City Council and county budgeting. She graduated from Roger Williams University (RWU) in 2018 with a dual degree in journalism and Spanish. While at RWU, Costa covered the 2016 presidential election and studied abroad in both Chile and the Dominican Republic where she reported on social justice and reported on local campus news for the university newspaper, The Hawks' Herald. Her work has also appeared in The *Enterprise *papers and the *Cortland Standard *and surrounding Central New York publications. Costa was born and raised on Cape Cod and has a love for all things outdoors, especially with her dog.

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