Claremont City Council Approves Tax Relief; Goddard Block Set For Redevelopment

Valley News Correspondent
Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Claremont — The City Council on Wednesday night voted to grant property tax relief for five years for redeveloper of the Goddard Block apartment building on Pleasant Street.

The approval of Community Revitalization Tax Relief Incentive under state law means that the pre-renovation of assessment, about $440,000, will remain in place for five years before a new assessed value is applied.

Goddard Block becomes the third property approved under state RSA 79-E by the council since it adopted the law in 2016 with the expectation it will encourage redevelopment of historic buildings in the city’s downtown.

Kevin Lacasse, CEO of New Hampton, N.H.-based New England Family Housing, which is planning to invest $7.5 million in the building at 54-62 Pleasant St. to create 36 apartments, said all of the funding for the project is in place and his firm is finalizing architectural plans while the general contractor, Trumbull-Nelson, completes the bidding process.

“We expect the bids to be back in three weeks and construction starting in late September,” Lacasse told the council.

The work is expected to take 15 months to complete.

Lacasse said the building, constructed in the early 20th century, has been approved for the National Register of Historic Places, which qualifies the investment for historic tax credits.

The council raised no objections to the request, but was not in favor of adding a provision that could extend the tax relief to nine years. The five years starts once the project is complete and a certificate of occupancy is granted.

The 36 one- and two-bedrooms and studio apartments will include six apartments on the ground floor in the back; the storefronts on Pleasant Street will remain commercial properties. There also will be about 10,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.

The building was condemned by the city last year for numerous code and safety violations and the residents at the time were forced to find other living arrangements.

Also last night, City Manager Ryan McNutt announced that because of a staffing shortage in the City Clerk’s Office, the office will be closed on Wednesdays and will close each day at 4 p.m. instead of 5 p.m.

McNutt said they are in the process of hiring a new person but until then, the reduced hours will remain in effect.

McNutt also showed a picture of some illegal dumping on Half Mile Road in West Claremont, a remote, rarely travel road that the City Council discussed closing to vehicular traffic a few months ago because of dumping.

“Someone dumped part of a house demolition,” McNutt said, clearly angered.

He said police are investigating and they are looking at recently issued building permits.

“More than likely the person will be caught and prosecuted,” McNutt said.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com.