MANCHESTER, N.H. – On Tuesday night, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved an amendment to a master development agreement (MDA) between the City of Manchester and Lansing Melbourne Group, the development company that has agreed to new affordable housing units at what is now the Pearl Street and Hartnett Parking lots.
Following a request for proposals in 2021 asking for affordable housing developments on the site that would incorporate a comparable amount of parking to the currently existing parking lots in the city’s downtown, the Aldermen heard a proposal from Lansing Melbourne in June to develop buildings on both lots in June 2022. The MDA based on Melbourne’s proposal was approved in August.
In the amendment to the MDA, presented in a letter to the Aldermen by Manchester Planning and Land Use Development Director Jeffrey Belanger, several changes were noted.
First, a requirement making the Hartnett Lot building be constructed before the Pearl Street Lot building was modified to allow both buildings to be developed independently of each other, as revised designs to the on-site garage at Hartnett may require design alternatives, and separating the two buildings would allow the Pearl Street Building to proceed if there are delays at Hartnett.
The amendment also provides an option for the city to withdraw its agreement to lease the Pearl Street Lot to Lansing Melbourne depending on the cost of the garage at the Pearl Street building after it was discovered that a TIF for the proposed Pearl Street building garage would also have to include the building itself to be financially feasible.
Additionally, the total number of dwelling units was raised in the amendment from 275 to 290 on Pearl Street and would put 60 of the 80 total affordable units in the two buildings within Pearl Street, with Pearl Street being built first.
The amendment was approved in a voice vote without discussion.
Later in the meeting, the Aldermen also approved another agreement that could lead to the transformation of a city-owned property, agreeing to allow Stebbins Commercial Properties to market new uses for the Manchester Transportation Center.
Located at the corner of Granite Street and Canal Street, the building was previously used by the Boston Express and several other intra-city bus routes up until the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to only one remaining daily Manchester to Boston route and one daily Manchester to Montreal route.
If Stebbins can find a tenant, the next step for the city would be declare the property as surplus, allowing the city to sell or lease the property to Stebbins for the proposed new tenant.