Tannery site issues


Before the original Tannery building collapsed, many of us envisioned mixed-use development of the site, with a grocery store, apartments and shops, to make the village more vibrant like it used to be. We want village residents to be able to walk to buy fresh groceries, go to restaurants, and do other shopping. The recent streetscape improvements make the village more attractive and safer for walking, and a grocery store would be a great addition.

The Penacook Physicians office was built to start the mixed-use concept. As environmental clean-up continued on the remainder of the site, an unusual problem was discovered: buried leather. In the above site plan, the red box on the left is an area of discarded leather that was encapsulated during environmental clean-up. According to City staff, it’s stable enough to build a park on, but not a building or parking lot.

The original Tannery site was just over 6 acres, but the remaining buildable parcel is only 2.5 acres. At the April 25 public meeting, City staff said there has not been much interest in constructing mixed-use development on the site, despite an active marketing campaign. The 2.5 acre lot is too small for even a small supermarket and parking, and the traffic count and population density are too low. They also said developers don’t want to build more shops when there are still vacant shops in the village.

What are your thoughts on these issues?

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Proposed development of Tannery site

The City has received a proposal to redevelop the Tannery site. The City Council will be making a decision on this proposal on Monday, May 8, 7PM, after a public hearing. Please let me know what you think about the proposal after you’ve had a chance to review the details.

The developer, Caleb Group, proposes to buy 2.5 acres. The City would keep 1.5 acres along the river for potential future creation of a public park. Caleb Group would build 54 apartments: 40 1-bedroom and 14 2-bedroom. They would be multigenerational, as required by NH Housing, with a preference for seniors. Six units would be market rate rentals, and 48 units would be for low to moderate income families. This is approx. $29,000 – $35,000 for a single person, and $33,000 – $40,000 for a 2-person family. According to Caleb Group, rental rates would be approx.:

1-bedroom: $780 – 940 (vs. market rate of $690 – $920)

2-bedroom: $940 – $1,100 (vs. market rate of $920 – $1,035)

The above is a concept photo, subject to change. For more info, see http://www.concordnh.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1544.

I’ll be posting more info over the next few days. Please share and send me your comments.

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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 https://tinyurl.com/kcrs7tk.


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 https://tinyurl.com/kcrs7tk

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.  brenttoddconcord@gmail.com 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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