Published: 2/26/2022 7:39:06 PM
One of the state’s biggest developers has begun the process of turning the dilapidated Department of Transportation site on Stickney Avenue into housing, although it is yet to be decided how many units might be involved, how existing buildings may be incorporated and whether it will include any commercial development.
Brady-Sullivan of Manchester recently received permission from the City Council to subdivide the 6-acre parcel, tucked between Storrs Street and I-93, into four lots, which is a first step for any development. The company has not submitted any specific proposals for the property.
“We’ve had very preliminary conversations, nothing more,” said Deputy City Manager Carlos Baía.
Brady-Sullivan has submitted a Comprehensive Development Plan for the redevelopment of the site “to support 80 dwelling units and associated site improvements,” according to a project description from the city’s community development department, but Baía said this number is far from certain.
Brady-Sullivan did not return Monitor calls for comment.
Although more housing is always welcome these days, Concord had long had its eye on putting a mix of housing and commercial development on this property because it’s so close to downtown. As long ago as 1981 the city published a pamphlet calling it “the most prominent single piece of real estate in the city.”
The state highway department bought the land in 1925 and over the next three decades built five buildings there for storage and maintenance of state vehicles. It was used by the Department of Transportation until 2006, when a new DOT facility opened on Hazen Drive. It has been largely unused since.
Concord had a right of first refusal for the property but last year the DOT pulled out of negotiations with the city, saying it was taking too long and had too much risk of a deal never happening. On June 7, 2020, NHDOT Commissioner Victoria Sheehan and Brady Sullivan Properties signed a purchase and sale agreement for $1 million.
Conditions of the sale include historic covenants on the H-shaped Highway Garage, which is eligible for placement on the National Registry of Historic Places, and requirements that Brady Sullivan deal with environmental damage from asbestos, lead paint and other hazardous materials, including decades of spilled material that may have leached into the ground.
Adding to the complexity is the sites’ proximity to I-93 and Storrs Street.
Long-term state plans call for expanding I-93 through Concord and changing the layout of ramps at exits 13 and 14, which might have the potential to infringe on the DOT site. Concord has plans to extend Storrs Street to the north, opening city-owned land adjacent to this parcel for development.