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Old Library Building Is Back Up for Sale

  • River Park developer David Clem looks for a video on his phone in front of the former West Lebanon library building, which he now owns in West Lebanon, N.H., on June 10, 2015. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • One of the interior views of the former West Lebanon Library, which developer David Clem has on the market for $795,000. (Courtesy Snyder Donegan Real Estate Group)

  • One of the interior views of the former West Lebanon Library, which developer David Clem has on the market for $795,000. (Courtesy Snyder Donegan Real Estate Group)

  • One of the interior views of the former West Lebanon Library, which developer David Clem has on the market for $795,000. (Courtesy Snyder Donegan Real Estate Group)



Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 24, 2018

West Lebanon — Developer David Clem has again placed the old West Lebanon Library building on the market, after an earlier attempt failed to attract a buyer.

The building on Main Street was listed earlier this month with a $795,000 asking price, and is being marketed as an “incredible office for an assortment of businesses, especially for a doctor, attorney or thriving tech company.”

“I just don’t think that there are that many spaces around here that are as sophisticated as this,” said realtor David Donegan of the Woodstock-based Snyder Donegan Real Estate Group. “It just has this old-world, grand feeling, but it’s all contemporary and new.”

The old library currently houses Clem’s company, Lyme Properties, which utilizes nearly 1,160 square feet of office space on the first floor. The building also has a 1,160-square-foot apartment, where Clem lived seasonally after selling his six-bedroom home in Hanover.

“It’s one of those landmark places that everyone knows and I think that, as a business going into it, you’re benefiting from the location in a huge way,” Donegan said on Tuesday.

Clem renovated the library building’s interior shortly after purchasing it from the city in 2012 for $141,000. He also had hoped to construct a 2,500-square-foot addition, but abandoned those plans in the face of permitting restrictions.

Last summer, Clem said the inability to expand the building contributed to his decision to put it on the market.

“We would like to have a place that our children and daughter-in-law can come visit with the grandkids,” he told the Valley Newsin June.

Messages left for Clem on Tuesday were not returned.

The developer last summer listed the building with Realtor Chip Brown of Harrington and Reeves, and required interested buyers to sign a confidentiality agreement before seeing the asking price. The building also briefly was on the market in 2014, prior to its restoration.

The city currently assesses the library at $434,200.

Clem in February obtained a building permit for $32,000 of work to replace siding, windows, portions of the roof and relocate the front door, according to city records.

He also moved, after purchasing a single-family home at 55 Crafts Ave. in August for $260,000, records show.

The 1.2-acre lot at the end of the West Lebanon street is near where Clem is planning to build nine new homes in a cul-de-sac, the first stage of his proposed River Park development.

Plans for the subdivision call for 840,000 square feet of retail, office and life science space on 38 acres between Route 10 and the Connecticut River. The $500 million project first was approved by the Lebanon Planning Board in 2011, but Clem and city officials have since been at odds over the requirements needed to obtain an excavation permit.

Clem went to the Planning Board in August, arguing the city was holding up progress at River Park by failing to respond to his requests and insisting he pay too much for a bond required for the work.

At the time, the city estimated tha planned sewer and water improvements could cost more than $789,000, a decrease from its previous price estimate of nearly $1 million.

The board, however, asked that talks between the city’s planning staff and Clem’s attorney continue, saying it would be open to helping resolve any further concerns.

But Planning Board Chairman Keith Davio said on Tuesday that the board hasn’t been asked to step in since. City planners also recently expressed optimism that Clem could soon meet the requirements to begin construction.

“There definitely doesn’t seem to be any action on the street in terms of construction, other than (Clem’s) moving trucks,” Crafts Avenue resident Morgan Swan said on Tuesday.

Lebanon Planning Director David Brooks said earlier this month that Clem needed to provide a few additional pieces of information to obtain an excavation permit.

However, he said, the developer has paid a $565,000 bond for sewer and restoration work on Crafts Avenue.

Subdivision plans also were recorded with the city in January, potentially clearing a hurdle for construction to begin, Brooks said.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.