City Works is a regular feature designed to provide a preview of upcoming city meetings including, but not limited to, Planning, Zoning and Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
The Planning Board met on Thursday, May 19 and the following cases were approved with conditions. If you missed the meeting and would like to hear more on the decisions, it is available to watch on-demand.
- CU2022-011 & IMP2022-004: 625 Douglas Street, Ward 11.
- S2022-001: 45 Windsor Avenue, Ward 6.
- S2022-003: 792 and 800 Hall Street, Ward 2.
- SP2022-007: Candia Road.
- CU2022-012: 190 Zachary Road, Ward 6.
- CU2022-013 and PDSP2022-003: 525 Hooksett Road, Ward 1.
The Heritage Commission will meet on Tuesday, May 24 at 5:30 p.m. The public is welcome to attend this meeting which will be held in the Walter Stiles Conference Room at City Hall. The Commissioners will continue working on a comprehensive review of existing Historic Districts, Historic City-owned buildings, Heritage Parks and Monuments, as well as State and National registered/eligible properties within the City. This workshop is intended to be interactive and is intended to complement the work underway to amend the Manchester Zoning Ordinance and incorporate findings into a unified land-use code. If you missed the last meeting and would like to catch up on the process, it can be viewed here.
During the May 17 Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, the Planning & Community Development Office provided the board with the following update on housing.
As we come out of the COVID pandemic, the City’s housing market is very strong. Vacancy rates in apartments continue to be extremely low and rents very high. Due to the unusually low-interest rates over the past year or so, the median price of single-family homes, as well as townhouses and condominiums, has increased. Once on the market, the housing inventory is quickly being sold. That is especially true for any units that would typically be aimed at first-time homebuyers.
Manchester continues to offer a variety of housing options, with many units recently completed, under construction, or in the final planning stages. As a result of many people now working from home, and a reduction in the need for more office space, this past year has seen a higher number than usual of building conversions from offices into housing. The following list provides an overview of recent projects that are either in front of the Planning Board, have just been completed, or are on their way to completion:
- 409 Elm Street: This downtown project was approved by the Planning Board a few years ago but construction was held up by lawsuits. The court issues have been resolved and construction is well underway. The project will bring 90 market-rate apartments, on five floors, to the downtown, along with commercial uses on the ground floor.
- 1211 Elm Street: This is another downtown project that was approved by the Planning Board a few years ago but, due to some financing issues, construction did not get underway until recently. The building has been largely vacant for the past several years and requires a fair amount of renovation. When completed, there will be 35 market-rate apartments with some commercial uses on the ground floor.
- 530 & 540 Chestnut Street: These two buildings are being converted from office use to residential use, with 24 new market-rate apartments in total. The building at 540 is complete and moving in residents. The building at 530 is currently undergoing renovations and should be ready to rent later this year.
- 73 Hanover Street: Directly across from the Palace Theater is an historic building that has housed offices, small businesses, and restaurants over the years. A local developer recently purchased the building and is converting the upper four floors into 43 market-rate apartments.
- 62 Lowell Street: The building at this location has had a very successful restaurant on the ground floor for years. Recently the owner decided to change the use of the upper two floors into 9 market-rate apartments.
- 48 Brook Street: Currently a commercial building with different uses, this building is before the Planning Board for the conversion into 10 multi-family apartment units.
- 25 Lowell Street: This downtown building has had commercial and office uses in the building for many years. It is currently in front of the Planning Board to convert the five-story building into 50 units of market-rate apartments.
- 1000 Elm Street: This 20-story building has been a downtown landmark for many years. Many large law firms and other companies have had offices in this building for decades. Again, with the change in the workplace since COVID, many of those tenants have vacated the building. The owner is currently renovating much of the building into 155 units of market-rate apartments, with some commercial space remaining on the ground floor.
- West Auburn Street: A development team from Massachusetts has chosen to invest in Manchester. They have recently received Planning Board approval to demolish old buildings along West Auburn, Depot and Canal Streets and will construct a new apartment building with 260 units of market-rate apartments with a parking garage structure below.
- Radburn Street: Another development team from Massachusetts recognizes the strong housing market in Manchester and has proposed building 305 multi-family units, in three buildings. This project will connect Radburn Street with Smyth Road and will provide another outlet for over 1,000 units of housing that currently have only one exit point. The project is currently in front of the Planning Board and has received positive feedback from the Board members so far. While the majority of the units will be market-rate, the developer has committed to providing 12 units of affordable housing.
- Central Street: A small parcel in the downtown, currently the location of a bar, is proposed to be redeveloped with 77 apartment units in eight stories, with some commercial uses on the ground floor. The project has gone through the ZBA and is expected to be submitted to the Planning Board in the next few months.
- 180 Pearl Street: This property has two buildings on it that were more recently used by the Currier Museum for art classes and offices. The property was purchased by an owner of tech companies in the Millyard. The proposal entails the conversion of both buildings into 29 market-rate apartments. The project was approved by the Planning Board and is currently under construction. It was represented that the new owner saw the need for housing for his workers and intends to offer the units to his employees.
- 42-44 Bridge Street: The most recent use of this 2-story building was as a bank. Recently the Planning Board approved the new use for 14 market-rate apartments, along with some commercial uses on the ground floor, street side. Construction is expected to begin within the next few months.
- Chestnut & Pine Streets: Two sites, the City’s former police station and a small parking lot across the street, have been purchased by a California company specializing in affordable housing units. They have cleared the first hurdle (the ZBA), and are expected to be in front of the Planning Board in two months. If approved and completed, 150 new affordable units will be added to the housing stock of Manchester.
- 315 Kimball Street: The Manchester Housing and Redevelopment Authority recently received approval to construct 48 new units of affordable housing on the West Side of Manchester.
- 1824 Front Street: Recently one of Manchester’s most successful builders of townhouses for rent received Planning Board approval for another 60 units on the West Side of Manchester. This developer has constructed over 300 similar townhouse units in Manchester over the past few years. It is expected that construction will begin before the end of the year.
- Old Wellington Road: Three different parcels of land, owned by two different developers, will have a total of 33 townhouse units on these small parcels. Some have recently been finished and the rest are under construction. Some of the units will be rented – others will be for sale.
- Coolidge Avenue: Currently under construction are 9-units of single-family homes, created as a planned development, on the West Side of Manchester. Those units should be ready for sale later this year.
- Single-Family Subdivisions: While the construction activity for apartments has been very strong over the past few years, the number of newly created, single-family house lots has been slower. Much of that is due, in part, to the limited land currently available for development. There is a new subdivision, which would extend the public street known as Arthur Avenue, currently under construction. When completed, 18 new single-family homes will be available for sale. As with the current housing stock, and with the proposed new construction, most of these houses are selling in the $450,000 to $550,000 price range, with some above that range. In addition to this development, there have been approximately 20 new “infill lots” created by subdividing land off of existing homes to create new single-family building lots.