Pending sale of 20-acre tract – on the market since 2023 – came as a surprise to some

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View of the front-end of a 20-acre parcel as visible from Wellington Road. A sale is pending to Stabile Companies. Photo/Carol Robidoux

MANCHESTER, NH – The pending $2 million sale of Manchester Water Works-owned property abutting Currier Hill came as a surprise to some when it came up at an aldermanic committee meeting last Monday but the 20+ acres tract has been up for sale since last August.

Michael F. Reed of Stebbins Commercial Properties LLC was hired by Water Works to handle the sale.  

Water Works determined how it would sell the property, according to Ward 7 Alderman Pat Long. Water Works, he said, is responsible for its own costs and maintains control over its revenue.

However, it still needed the Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s approval to sell a property or to bond a project, he said.  Water Works, he said, had the board’s permission for the sale.

The property was purchased in 1940 for a possible tank for Water Works.  

On Monday, members of the Committee on Lands and Buildings, which includes Long and At-Large Alderman Joe Kelly Levasseur, learned a purchase and sales agreement for $2 million was signed with the Stabile Companies of Nashua.  

The tract of land, off Wellington Road, is zoned R1-A single-family residential.

Manchester Water Works Director Phil Croasdale wants proceeds from the sale placed in a reserve account to be used toward the costs of future relocation of the Lincoln Street Administration Building and Garage which would move the site of the Lake Massabesic Water Treatment Plant on Lake Shore Road.   The new buildings is expected to cost anywhere between $17 and $35 million.

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A 20-acre parcel of land off Wellington Road is pending sale to Stabile Companies for development. Image/City of Manchester

Reed said the 20-acre parcel sale is not a done deal. The Stabile Companies, he said, have 120 days to go through due diligence and another 90 days, plus or minus, for approvals and closing.

The proposed sale then has to go “before the city planning board and all abutters are notified,” Reed said.  At that point, the public can weigh in on the sale.

“It’s a good builder,” Reed said.   “He’s very well-known and he builds a very nice house.”

When the property was first put up for sale, the asking price was $2.9 million.  Levasseur said the property has a lot of ledge but he said he didn’t know if $2 million is a good price for the property.

Reed said a “For Sale” sign wasn’t posted on the property.  Reed, who has been in the commercial real estate field for 39 years, said he uses multiple listing platforms in advertising properties for sale including LoopNet, an online site providing commercial property listings for sale or lease across the U.S.,  and the New Hampshire Commercial Property Exchange.

Reed said he also sent out an email blast to brokers, buyers and attorneys. 

“I know a couple of people up there who were aware of the project and I kept them abreast,” he said.  

Reed has sold property for the city in the past.  Most recently, he handled the sale of the former police station on Chestnut Street. 

Long said there are three ways the city can sell a property: have a Realtor handle the sale; hold an auction, or go out to bid.  He said the Board of Mayor and Alderman determine which way to proceed. 

Water Works, he said, has the right to determine which way they want to sell property.

Levasseur said he has heard from abutters who only learned of the sale after it was listed on the Committee on Lands and Buildings agenda and the media picked up on it.

He said when someone puts up a property for sale, abutters aren’t notified.

Levasseur said he is going to try to put in a policy that whenever the city puts a property up for sale, that all abutters be notified.

“It’s not a done deal,” he said.  “It has to go before the full board on May 7.”


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Pat Grossmith

Pat Grossmith is a freelance reporter.