With more asbestos, Concord's investment into former Employment Security building increases – Concord Monitor

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The former Department of Employment Security building on S. Main Street.
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A higher price tag than expected for asbestos removal will add to the city’s investment into the downtown building formerly used by the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security.
On Monday, Concord City Council will hold a public hearing and then vote on amending the purchase and sale agreement with the John J. Flatley Company for the ¾-acre property at 32-34 South Main Street and 33 South State Street to pay an extra $150,000 for costs related to abatement of newly discovered asbestos.
Under the existing agreement with Flatley, set to close in March, Concord will sell the building that the city bought in 2014 for $1.575 million for $350,000, slightly more than the assessed value of the land. The city also used the Employment Security building as part of its justification for spending $2 million to bury utility lines between Pleasant Street and Thompson Street.
The extra $150,000 will not come from the General Fund, but from a sealed-off pool of taxes earned in the area where the development sits, called the Sears Block TIF District. A TIF, or tax increment financing district, allows the city to finance large projects by storing property taxes from businesses within that zone.
Concord will also be able to use $27,500 in Brownfields Grant Funds from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services towards the additional asbestos removal.
In the original purchase and sale agreement approved on May 10, Concord agreed to fund $385,000 in asbestos removal, partially funded by a $172,500 grant from the state Brownfields Program. The new asbestos was discovered in late May, according to a report from Director of Redevelopment Matt Walsh.
Flatley plans to demolish the existing building and construct a 6-story apartment building, with 64 units spanning 80,000 square feet. The city estimates that the project will generate between $215,000 and $275,000 in property tax revenue each year.
Cassidy Jensen has been a reporter at the Monitor, covering the city of Concord and criminal justice, since July 2021. Previously, she was a fellow at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University, where she earned a master’s degree. Her work has been published in Documented, THE CITY, Washington City Paper and Street Sense Media. When she’s not at City Council meetings, you can find her hiking in the White Mountains.
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