Support our education reporting.

The first $10,000 donated will be matched by national nonprofit Report for America. All money raised will go directly to salary and benefits for the Monitor’s education reporter through the summer of 2022. The Monitor remains committed to the principles of truth, democracy and trust.

After 2.5 years and nearly $5 million, Remi’s Block set to reopen

  • Remi Hinxhia bought the iconic property on the corner of Main Street and Loudon Road at auction for $975,000 in June 2014, sight unseen. This week, the new tenants are set to move into its replacement, named Remi’s Block after the lively developer who spent 2½ years and nearly $5 million renovating the 148-158 N. Main St. property. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The downtown Concord landmark formerly known as the Vegas Block no longer exists. It died in a $52,000 fumigation cloud, along with its cockroaches and bedbugs.This week, the new tenants are set to move into its replacement, named Remi’s Block after the lively developer who spent 2½ years and nearly $5 million renovating the 148-158 N. Main St. property. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The downtown Concord landmark formerly known as the Vegas Block no longer exists. It died in a $52,000 fumigation cloud, along with its cockroaches and bedbugs.This week, the new tenants are set to move into its replacement, named Remi’s Block after the lively developer who spent 2½ years and nearly $5 million renovating the 148-158 N. Main St. property. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Remi Hinxhia bought the iconic property on the corner of Main Street and Loudon Road at auction for $975,000 in June 2014, sight unseen. This week, the new tenants are set to move into its replacement, named Remi’s Block after the lively developer who spent 2½ years and nearly $5 million renovating the 148-158 N. Main St. property. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Remi Hinxhia bought the iconic property on the corner of Main Street and Loudon Road at auction for $975,000 in June 2014, sight unseen. This week, the new tenants are set to move in; some will have views of the State House. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Remi Hinxhia bought the iconic property on the corner of Main Street and Loudon Road at auction for $975,000 in June 2014, sight unseen. This week, the new tenants are set to move into its replacement, named Remi’s Block after the lively developer who spent 2½ years and nearly $5 million renovating the 148-158 N. Main St. property. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Remi Hinxhia (right) and real estate agent Patrick Starkey show off one of the new apartments in the iconic building Hinxhia spent 2½ years renovating. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 2/27/2017 11:20:41 PM

The downtown Concord landmark formerly known as the Vegas Block no longer exists. It died in a $52,000 fumigation cloud, along with its cockroaches and bedbugs.

This week, new tenants are set to move into its successor, named Remi’s Block after the lively developer, Remi Hinxhia, who spent 2½ years and nearly $5 million gutting and renovating the 148-158 N. Main St. property.

Twenty luxury two-bedroom apartments – fetching as much as $1,650 a month – and three storefronts now occupy the space that was known for squatters and frequent police responses.

All that’s left is the 1860 brick and a few salvaged floorboards, Hinxhia said.

“These are the only two things from the Vegas Block,” he said. “Everything else is Remi’s Block.”

Hinxhia bought the iconic five-story property on the corner of Main Street and Loudon Road at auction for $975,000 in June 2014. Less than two months later, the city evicted its residents with only a day’s notice, after officials found numerous life-safety violations in an inspection.

But that was only the beginning of a series of challenges that would follow, ultimately causing the project to go over budget by $500,000, Hinxhia said. The chief setback came almost immediately, when a study of the building’s foundation revealed that it needed $300,000 worth of work.

The nearly $1 million purchase price, plus $3.3 million in renovations and nearly $400,000 in cleaning and demolition comprised almost $5 million invested in the building.

“I think this was the hardest project ever for anybody – not just Remi or (construction company) Cobb Hill,” Hinxhia said, referring to himself by his first name. “It’s that we had so many surprises and so many hurdles. I think we really fought and stood up as a big family for this project to make it work, because somebody else would have walked out.”

Filling up

As of Monday, nine of the 20 apartments were spoken for, Hinxhia said. Businesses, including restaurants, a flower shop and a hair salon, had inquired about – but not yet signed for – the three storefronts, he said.

Each floor has five apartments, featuring granite countertops, hardwood floors, central air conditioning, a washer-dryer unit, one parking space and basement storage. Twelve apartments have small balconies on Main Street and Loudon Road. Twelve have two bathrooms, while the rest have one.

The front-facing windows peer out onto the city’s new-look Main Street, which underwent its own $13 million reconstruction simultaneously to Remi’s Block, ending in November. The housing project is an example of the sort of development the city hoped to spur with its public infrastructure investment.

Pricing is set by floor: $1,450 a month for the second, $1,550 a month for the third and $1,650 a month for the fourth and fifth floors.

Those figures are notably higher than the average two-bedroom apartment in Concord, which cost $1,145 a month in 2016, according to New Hampshire Housing.

But considering the cost of the project, Hinxhia said he couldn’t have gone any lower. If not for a five-year tax break the city granted him under RSA 79-e, he said he “potentially could have asked $2,000.”

“That’s what my other competitors charge for this kind of size and having this kind of amenities,” he said.

‘Carrying this building’

Costing more and taking longer than expected, the project has been a hardship for Hinxhia and his family, he said.

“I’ve been carrying this building for 2½ years over my shoulders,” he said. “Even if I had a money machine, I would run out of paper, you know?”

Workers were visible Monday throughout the building putting on the finishing touches ahead of the apartments’ scheduled March 1 move-in date. The storefronts – at least one of which Hinxhia said will be a restaurant – are slightly behind the apartments, but the developer said he’s pushing to have them “ready to go” as soon as possible.

Hinxhia, who has two kids ages 4 and 5, said he’s ready to take a step away from the building, too, after doing everything from personally sandblasting every brick from the second floor up to appearing this month for one last meeting with the planning board.

“Not being around (my kids) these 2½ years, not spending as much time with them, they grow up too quick, you know?” he said.

Hinxhia added: “Let’s face it. … If something happens and I’m gone, now this building will always be here for Concord. My son and daughter tomorrow can be proud of their dad.”

(Nick Reid can be reached at 369-3325, nreid@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @NickBReid.)




Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301
603-224-5301

 

© 2021 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy