City Report on Tannery Site

City Report to Council

This is a link to City staff’s report to the Mayor and City Council, prepared by Matt Walsh, Dir. of Redevelopment, Downtown Services & Special Projects. The above photo shows the proposed apartment site in red, and the future City riverfront park in blue. There are a lot of factors to consider with the Tannery site, and I welcome your input on this proposal. Here is an excerpt highlighting pros and cons. For more info see


The NAI Norwood Group has been diligently marketing the property for the past 20 months. The property has several positive attributes, including the following, which have been highlighted as part of marketing efforts:

  •  Close proximity to I-93.
  •  Frontage on the Contoocook River.
  • Walkable location in newly renovated Penacook Village.
  • Environmental cleanup has been completed and the property has secured a “Covenant Not to Sue” from the State of New Hampshire.
  •  New storm water infrastructure is in place linking the site to the Contoocook River.
  • The property is located in a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District which could potentially assist developers with infrastructure improvements if required to support redevelopment of the property.


However, despite these attributes, a strong economy, and robust real estate market, developer interest has been very low. City Administration believes this can be attributed to the following factors:

  • Only 2.5 acres of the 4.04 acre site is developable due to leather and coal ash materials which have been encapsulated at the site. This reduced lot size precludes the opportunity for large developments, consequently suppressing developer interest. In addition, waste materials encapsulated on that portion of the site to be conveyed to a developer further reduces the site’s attractiveness in the marketplace, as developers typically prefer opportunities that do not have such complications.
  • The traffic count for Canal Street is 7,019 vehicles per day (circa 2011). This volume of traffic is too low to attract most retail tenants.
  • The elevation of the site sits approximately 8’ (or 2/3s of a story) below Canal Street. This circumstance reduces curb appeal of the site, and may also present other development challenges.
  • Poorly maintained properties abutting the site complicate marketing efforts.
  • Penacook Village’s low population density generally limits opportunities for mixed use and commercial projects.
  • A relatively high tax rate also complicates the marketability of the site.
  • Lastly, lack of market absorption of existing vacant commercial spaces in Penacook makes it very challenging to interest developers in potentially building mixed use, office, and commercial uses.

 Staff Recommendation: Staff recommends that the City Council authorize the City Manager to enter into the Purchase Option Agreement for the following reasons:

a. The proposed use is appropriate for the village setting.

b. The proposed use is financially feasible and will likely be economically viable in the local market.

c. The City will receive its full asking price of $540,000 for the site. After paying a commission to the NAI Norwood Group and other closing costs, staff estimates that net proceeds to the City will be approximately $496,800.

d. The City has no obligation to build any infrastructure to support this development. Therefore, no additional TIF investments are planned at this time. While the City Council may wish to consider development of the long-discussed riverfront park at some point in the future, the City has no obligation to develop such a park under the terms of the proposed Purchase Option Agreement.

e. Should the City Council ever wish to develop a riverfront park adjacent to this new project, the residential development will be an excellent complimentary use.

f. The addition of 54 new households in the Village will help support existing businesses, as well as help make Penacook more attractive for future economic development.

g. The proposed project will be attractive and will greatly improve the aesthetics of the Canal Street gateway into Penacook Village.

h. The proposed development will create $3 million in new assessed value and $115,000 in new property tax revenues. Coupled with the adjacent medical office building completed in 2011, redevelopment of the former Allied Leather Tannery will ultimately result in approximately $5 million in new assessed value on 4.5 acres of land ($1.11M per acre), generating approximately $185,000 in total new property tax revenues annually.


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Tannery Redevelopment Proposal Received

The City has received a proposal for redevelopment of the former Tannery site in Penacook. The proposal is to build a multigenerational family housing project, with a preference for senior citizen tenants.

With support from the Penacook Village Association, the City will hold a neighborhood meeting on Tuesday, April 25th at 7:00PM at the Penacook Elementary School cafeteria. This will be a chance for folks to ask questions and deliver opinions on the proposal. Attending the meeting will be Rob Bernardin (Caleb Group), Judy Niles-Simmons (NAI Norwood Group, the City’s real estate broker), and Matt Walsh (Concord’s Director of Redevelopment, Downtown Services, & Special Projects).

Specific information about this proposal is available at

On the 4/10/17 City Council consent agenda, item 7 schedules a public hearing for the May 8 Council meeting.  At the May 8 meeting, after presentation, discussion, and public testimony on the proposal, the Council will vote on whether to proceed.

The proposal calls for:

  • two separate buildings containing 30 and 24 units, likely developed in two phases
  • a maximum of 14 of the 54 total units will be 2-bedroom units, and the remainder 1-bedroom units
  • apartments geared towards households earning 60% or less of the Area Median Household Income, with six of the units “market rate” with no income restrictions
  • an attempt to preserve and reuse the 2,600SF brick office building at the site
  • projected generation of approximately $115,000 in new property taxes upon full build out in 2021/2022, with $3 million in new assessed value

Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns. It’s very important for me to hear from you before this goes to Council vote. or 753-9609

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Concord Investments in Penacook


With tax season here again, let’s look at how much of our City tax dollars have been spent right here in Penacook. The City has invested over $8 million on Penacook projects since 2012, and $2 million on the Tannery site since 2003. Here is a breakdown of those investments.

U.S. Route 3 (Fisherville Rd)

$6.4 million

Boscawen town line to south of Manor Rd, incl. underground utilities

Clean & Line Water Mains

$1 million

High, Summer, Cross, Shaw, Stark, Dolphin, Community Dr.

Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation


Village St., Elm, Washington, Webster, Merrimack, Sanders, Summer Sts.

Penacook Village Zoning Grant


Rolfe Park Pool Replacement





Tannery Site

$2 million ($2 million of City funds, plus almost $3 million of grant money)

Purchase of parcels, environmental clean-up, etc.



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Tannery Project

What’s been happening with the former Allied Tannery site in Penacook Village? The City of Concord has spent almost $5 million since 2003 in an effort to redevelop this site. In 2015 the City hired a commercial real estate broker to market and show the property.  Our options are to continue to market and listen to offers on the property, or to pull it off the market and let it sit as is.

Net project investment to date = $4.9 million ($2 m = City; $2.9 m = grant money)

Since 2003 the City has acquired 8 parcels – 6.15 acres

2011 – Penacook Family Physicians was built – valued at $1.8 million

2014 – Environmental Clean-up was completed

2015 – Hired a commercial real estate broker; prepared redevelopment concept & marketing materials

To date: Approximately 300 views of property for our listings & was direct marketed to over 260 developers; have had direct discussions with 19 parties and 3 showings

  • Strengths for development of the property
    • Clean-up is complete
    • Convenient to I-93
    • Riverfront setting
    • Walkable to Village
    • In a TIF District (tax advantages of Tax Increment Financing District)
    • Recent village improvements (utilities upgrades, paving, sidewalk + lighting improvements)
  • Weaknesses:
    • Small lot (2.5 acres)
    • Low traffic count (just over 7K cars per day)
    • The lot dips 2/3 a story below Canal Street
    • Encapsulated contamination remains
    • Low population density
    • Tax Rate higher than the Concord school district
    • Many vacancies currently exist in Penacook
  • Options: Continue to market the property and listen to offers, pull it off the market and let it sit.
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Frank Beede House update

Thank you to everyone who attended Monday night’s hearing about the demolition plans for the Beede House, and to all who have contacted me to express their opinions on this matter. Discussions are continuing, and we will be scheduling another meeting soon to continue the conversation. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me with any additional comments, concerns or suggestions.


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March 8 Monitor article

At meeting in Penacook, many call on American Legion to preserve historic Beede House 
The old Beede House is seen on Washington Street in Penacook on Monday, Feb. 22, 2016. The American Legion Post 31 has applied for a permit to demolish the historic home.

(ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) The old Beede House is seen on Washington Street in Penacook on Monday, Feb. 22, 2016. The American Legion Post 31 has applied for a permit to demolish the historic home. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)


Monitor staff

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Rick Jacques’s father served in the military, and some of his closest friends are members of the American Legion Post 31 in Penacook.

Jacques is also the president of the Penacook Historical Society, a member of the Heritage Commission and a self-proclaimed lover of old buildings.

So when he stood to speak Monday night about the legion’s plan to demolish a historic Washington Street duplex in favor of a new post, he told the crowd he spoke “with a heavy heart.”

“That’s why this hurts so much,” Jacques said.

He was near the end of a long line of impassioned speakers, most of whom implored the legion to preserve the 1860s-era home – often known as the Beede House. They addressed a public hearing of Concord’s Demolition Review Committee; that group can accept testimony but cannot block an owner from razing property.

With more than 80 people inside, the hall at the United Church of Penacook was standing-room only. Four people spoke on behalf of the legion, while more than 15 spoke or wrote to implore the group to save the historic house.

“Hopefully, the legion and the vets in general understand that our only desire is to get them to look at their plan again and see if their plan is feasible and makes the most sense in our village,” Jacques said. “We too will pass on, leaving our children and grandchildren and the houses we built.”

But the American Legion has been planning this new post for years.

The house in question – 12-14 Washington St. – is located on an adjacent lot to the current legion post at 11 Charles St. The post hosts social events and meetings, but it is small and not handicapped accessible. The members’ wish list for a new location includes an accessible layout, preferably all on one floor for handicapped veterans; a commercial kitchen; and a larger hall for funeral receptions or functions.

Representatives from the group talked Monday evening about the yearslong search for such a site. For example, the legion considered the former home of Beede Electric, but decided the rehab needed on the building was too expensive.

In 2008, the group bought the Beede House for $300,000. Its original hope was to renovate it, but that plan also proved to be pricey. So for several years, the legion has been working on a plan to tear down the old and build new.

“It’s almost unfair that at the eleventh hour you come, and you say, ‘Whoa,’ ” Penacook resident Deb Newell said in defense of the legion. “You know, these guys have worked hard.”

Legion representatives also noted the nonprofit’s outreach in the community, through financial donations and events like an annual fishing derby for kids.

“The history of our town is not just about old buildings,” adjutant David Newell said. “It’s about the people who live and work here. American Legion veterans are all wartime veterans, and they are a vital part of the history of our town.”

But village residents were still unhappy with the plan and advocated for historic preservation. Althea Barton, a village resident and board member at the Penacook Historical Society, has started a personal blog about the house’s history. Descendents of the Beede family themselves spoke about their memories of the house and its earlier residents. One woman read a letter from her mother, who had lived in the house. Her words vividly described running down the stairs on Christmas, sitting on the front porch with her grandmother and eating plums from the trees in the yard.

The duplex has changed hands since those ancestors have died. It was rented up until last year, but has been vacant in recent months. Nearby neighbors questioned whether a busier legion post would fit with the character of the residential and historic neighborhood.

“This is not against the legion; it is definitely not against our veterans,” Washington Street resident Joshua Grover said. “For the community, though, the concern is, one, the loss of a building that does have historic value, but also the new building and what that can do to a community.”

Others suggested the legion work to preserve the house’s facade, or design the new building with the architectural character of the existing home. Penacook resident Dean Dexter noted the old railroad station torn down years ago in Concord, to the chagrin of many longtime residents – and the preservation of the Pierce Manse, once threatened with demolition.

“You’ve innocently swerved into owning and becoming a steward of a well-built, classic building in a very prominent place in a community that is trying to reinvent itself,” Dexter said. “I want to protect your right to do what you want with that building. But if there’s a way to save it and to help fix this, and if there can be enough involvement with the community to help you do that, I’d love to see it.”

Ultimately, the city’s Demolition Review Committee can only be a sounding board. The committee does not vote on the demolition permit; at the end of the mandatory 49-day waiting period, the owner is free to demolish – or not.

Fred Richards, president of the committee, suggested the parties could work together beyond Monday’s public hearing.

“The applicant has every right to stick to their guns, and if they decide to take the building down, well, that’s their right,” Richards said. “We think of this as a community-based way to at least get people together and discuss differences. And sometimes, through differences, you arrive at a new position.”

(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321, or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)

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Story ID: DemoHearing-cm-030816

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Penacook in the Monitor

Frank Beede House demolition plan

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