ok...needed to post something about manchester....i'm nervous that in this new incarnation, and since he is now at the beginning, patrick will make this archportland......................(all jokes, pat)
So....this place...this is on a random side street downtown, and was a gay club for a while...the place is freakin' enormous....very quiet and inconspiculous from the outside....the gay club was one of those that you needed to knock out the secret code on the door and give the secret handshake to get into (very, very weird).
As Electra opens, its sale nears
By SCOTT BROOKS
Union Leader Staff
Tuesday, May. 23, 2006
MANCHESTER ? The owner of the Electra nightclub says he is completing a deal to sell the controversial business, which opened just days ago as an alcohol-free dance club.
Jack Franks said he is selling the Fir Street nightspot for an undetermined sum to Electra Nightclubs Vice President Dana Clay and another businessman, whom he declined to name. He said he expects to close a deal within the coming two to three weeks.
Franks said the deal was destined to go forward regardless of the State Liquor Commission's recent decision to deny the club's application for a liquor license. Electra opened for business last Friday as a hangout for the under-21 crowd.
"We obviously didn't anticipate being a teen club," Franks told the New Hampshire Union Leader yesterday, "but the game plan is still the same: that as soon as we're able to set it up, we're going to have these guys take it over."
Franks said he also plans to sell his stake in his other business, the Electra Nightclub in west Lebanon, to current business partner Robert Dorman. That club does serve alcohol.
"The deal is incomplete," he said. "But it's close."
Franks said he is leaving the restaurant and nightclub business after 19 years to pursue a career in real estate. His plan, he said, is to cater to families in Massachusetts and the Mid-Atlantic who are in the market for a secondary home.
Meanwhile, he said, attorneys for Manchester Electra are considering measures to help the club obtain a liquor license. "They're leaving all options on the table at this point," Franks said.
Neighbors and activists who opposed the club's opening knew of no problems this past weekend. Many, however, said they still hope to drive the club away from their neighborhood, even if it never gets a liquor license.
"I don't think we need any more nightclubs in downtown Manchester. I really don't," said John Mango, who owns Ye Olde Cobbler Shop on Elm Street. The shop, he said, has been repeatedly vandalized over the years, both by bar-goers and by wayward teens.
Though glad the club is not serving alcohol, Mango and others in the neighborhood said they worry some of its teenage patrons will drink or do drugs in their cars or on the street.
"When you have a group of children that large, there's no way you're going to be able to control anything that happens," said Paul Searles, who lives in an apartment on Dow Street. Searles said he is trying to organize a neighborhood watch group that can monitor activities around the club.
Franks said he hired a police detail for opening night last Friday. Also, he said, the club has a metal detector and bouncers who check bags and purses.
"We'll be heavily discouraging any negative activity," he said.
Mayor Frank Guinta said his administration would, if necessary, continue its efforts to block Electra from acquiring a liquor license.
In the meantime, he said, he does not foresee any problems with the club.
"The city is certainly aware that it's open," he said, "and the police department is going to make sure that area and every other location in the city is protected."
MANCHESTER ? City officials and a Boston-based developer are optimistic that a deal will be reached within a month to reroute part of Gold Street and clear the way for a Home Depot on the site of the old Associated Grocers of New England.
The former Associated Grocers warehouse property at 725 Gold St., opposite March Avenue, is owned by GFI Partners and would have to be rezoned from industrial to retail.
"I think that we'd like to begin the process of permitting with the city council within the next 30 days," said Bob LaRochelle of Andover Strategic Alliances, who acts as a spokesman for GFI Partners.
GFI is negotiating with seven or eight Gold Street homeowners to buy their properties and with the Diocese of Manchester to buy an undeveloped parcel near New St. Augustin Cemetery.
Tentative plans call for a bypass turning north near 376 Gold St., then turning east behind existing homes along the north side of Gold Street and running easterly parallel to Gold Street until it reaches Bradley Street, where a new intersection would be built.
Ward 9 Alderman Michael Garrity said he plans to call a neighborhood meeting in mid-June to air the plan.
"At this point, I am very optimistic, yes," Garrity said.
Plans tentatively call for a 60-foot-wide roadway for the reconfigured Gold Street with parking and sidewalks on both sides, he said. The road is currently 20 feet wide.
There would also be traffic lights at South Beech and Gold streets, he said.
Garrity said he has spoken to officials of Home Depot who are seeking a larger footprint than their current 129 March Ave. store has.
City Economic Development Director Paul Borek said the conversion of the Associated Grocers site to retail could yield an estimated $200,000 a year in additional property tax revenues.
"The project is so very important because of the need to improve traffic movement and circulation along Gold Street, but also from the economic development standpoint," Borek said.
Home Depot spokesman Yancey Casey said he could not confirm whether Home Depot was pursuing the option.
However, Borek said, "we're well aware of the retailer's need for additional space within the market."
Diocese of Manchester spokesman Pat McGee said the diocese is in discussions with the city.
The land is owned by St. Anne/St. Augustin Parish, which is being represented by the diocesan real estate office.
Garrity said developers plan to buy six houses on the south side of Gold Street and two on the north. Another house on the south side, whose owner did not want to sell, will be worked around.
"If this Gold Street plan goes through, it will finally solve the issues on Gold Street," Garrity said. "If the issues on Gold Street are resolved, I wouldn't be opposed to rezoning it."
archPortland is dead! why, matt? why!! now my plans have all fallen through and i have been uncovered as the forum thread stealing crook that i am! ooohhh! ooohh! hahaha. yeah i blasted this forum with like 10 portland threads in about the first hour i signed up. haha. :lol:
Patrick there is no question that the other board crashed because you tried to upload 50 portland articles within seconds....poor little server couldn't handle it. We all saw that one coming (is it a coincidence that this happened mere days after you graduated??? I think not)
Yes...900 people! It's akin to a moderate-sized place in boston....was totally blown away the first time I went in...I can't stress enough how it's on a random side street, at the crook of a 90 degree turn of the street, a block from elm...very hidden and no way can you tell the size....i don't know the history of the place....no recollection of anything there growing up
At the corner is a little superette (North End Superette, M.Brown and the rest who don't know where it is) that a. would take our fake i.d.'s as a kid and b. has a fantastic wine selection now...so i've driven by it a million places...no idea a club was there.
yea sorry to everyone for crashign the board...but it was only 36 articles, the other 14 i was gonna post the next morning.
anyway, a similar thing exists in portland. off of congress street on a narrow side street are two 1,000 capacity clubs adjacent to one another. the asylum, and what used to be havanas (now just known as the stadium complex). you sure cant tell they are that big, cause they are in those buildings that are so cookie-cutter in donwtown, those buildings which usually have small rooms etc.
right...i remember those in portland. The difference is the signage and the area they're in....The electra space looks like (or did, at least) like a random office space....since it's at the 'elbow' of the street, you have no sense how deep it goes in the back. And, this street, fir, is only a block long before turning 90 to become something else...it's not even a real cross street to anything else. It seems like a sleepy little block...not the area that houses the largest club in manchester. There would be no reason to go down that street, and there isn't signage to even let you know it's a club (that's why it was a classic old time gay club...completely hidden)....it's a few blocks north of the more established downtown, which roughly ends at bridge street to the north (i know, this may mean nothing to you...there's a 10 story brown bank of america building on that corner, if you remember that. you actually have a photo a few months ago driving down bridge street from the highway exit)
sorry...not describing it well....when i have time i'll pull up a map
MANCHESTER: Hope for Pandora hinges on parking
Hotel awaits city?s approval of Granite Street lot sale
By Joe Cox firstname.lastname@example.org
According to Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman on Earth.
The gods gave her many charms ? beauty, persuasion. And they gave her a box which they forbade her to open, but yes, she did anyway and all the evils inside escaped into the world. But there was one thing left in Pandora?s Box ? hope.
That?s what some city leaders have on their side when it comes to the redevelopment of the Pandora Mill building at the corner of Granite and Commercial streets. It?s one of the last, and the most visible, targets for redevelopment in the Millyard.
At one time it was a majestic symbol of the industrial revolution. Today it?s a vacant deserted hulk owned by a commercial real estate group led by Dean Kamen, 1848 Associates. Grand plans include conversion of the mammoth brick edifice into a hotel, possibly featuring penthouse condos on the top floor.
As part of the overall plan, the group wants to buy the Granite Street parking lot to the south, the Seal Tanning parking lot to the north, and Phillipe Cote Street to the west, from the city for $635,500. The Seal lot has 142 spaces, the Granite Street lot has 66.
The deal would include the responsibility for the construction of an earth retaining wall as required by the Granite Street road widening project. That?s a good deal, according to proponent George Smith, Ward 10 alderman.
?It would alleviate the parking down there,? he said. ?And it would give us a good tax base, but parking is a prime consideration.? If the city were to hold on to the properties, it would have to pay for the retaining wall and invest in parking lot upgrades.
Even though the Granite Street widening project is reducing the Granite Street lot property size, a newly designed lot would handle more parking than at present. And project planners say a new parking deck at the Seal Tanning lot would be a very significant addition of parking.
The Kamen property group also owns Gateway and other buildings (west of Pandora on the Merrimack River) that house Texas Instruments and Autodesk. Both companies want to hire more workers but the present parking facilities are insufficient. The group wants to accommodate its tenants and it wants to move forward with the Pandora property. There?s a sense of urgency.
1848 Associates is willing to pay for the retaining wall at the Granite Street lot and build a two-level parking deck structure at the Seal Tanning lot to create more parking spaces, though the price they?re willing to pay is far below market value for the lots and the street.
?I think the number is closer to $1.5 million,? Ward 2 Alderman Ted Gatsas said. ?The taxpayers need to be protected.? Last year the city properties were appraised at $1.9 million.
So the deal is hung up on price. The BMA tabled a sale proposal last month and a new city proposal is expected to be before the board again by the middle of this month.
The proposed 1848 Associates price is derived by subtracting future maintenance costs and the Granite Street retaining wall construction cost from the present value of the lots and Cote Street.
?In real estate, you?re buying something on an ?as is? basis, not based on what somebody?s going to do for maintenance,? Gatsas said.
Mayor Frank Guinta is in favor of the sale of city property and the redevelopment of the Pandora building.
Smith believes it will be three or four years before the city would create significant parking expansion at the south end of the Millyard if it were to hold on to the properties rather than sell them.
Gatsas is not convinced.
?When you start selling parking lots, the city no longer has control,? Gatsas said.
-I hate this Gatsas guy, the city is losing a lot more money with this building left vacant and rotting, than it would by giving a slight discount to the developers on the sales price
By ELISE CASTELLI
Union Leader Correspondent
29 minutes ago
DERRY ? With the Exit 4A project on the horizon, Derry is preparing for a boom in economic development as the project coincides with town efforts to centralize economic development control and sets the stage for new development on Route 28.
"Exit 4A is going to make a huge impact down the road to change the face of Derry," Town Administrator Russell Marcoux said in an interview yesterday.
Derry has been made more attractive to businesses because of the potential Exit 4A, Community Development Director George Sioras said in an interview Thursday.
The town has been approached by "major retailers" who would "prefer a quicker and easier way to get to the highway," said Sioras. "Development will happen even if 4A doesn't, but 4A will make it more attractive."
If Exit 4A's chosen path receives final approval, it would take travelers through Derry along North High Street and Folsom Road, allowing truckers and customers to avoid downtown Derry traffic to get to the stores, he said.
"It's a matter of once one store goes in, it will bring in other types of retailers," said Sioras. Wal-Mart is already in negotiations to build a super center on Sanmina property behind Flagship Cinemas. Several other major retailers interested in the remaining Sanmina properties and other vacant properties on Manchester Road routinely call Sioras to check on the progress of Exit 4A, he said.
"But it's not free of charge, we have to invest in our future," said Marcoux.
Exit 4A will cost approximately $24 million, but road improvements will also be needed along Route 28, Marcoux said. With the potential for development on Route 28, there is also potential for a tax increment finance district in the area similar to the one on Ash Street, he said.
A TIF district would allow the town to fund improvements to the roadway and infrastructure with a bond. The tax revenue from the increased value of the redeveloped properties would be used to pay off the bond. After the bond is paid off, the additional tax revenue will strengthen Derry's tax base, Marcoux said.
There are several other funding options being explored for Route 28 improvements, which will happen regardless of Exit 4A and possibly sooner, he said.
Exit 4A and the potential development along Route 28 coincide with the town's efforts to centralize economic development operations, said Marcoux. The town government, the Derry Economic Development Corporation and the Derry Housing and Redevelopment Authority have been meeting to develop a common vision for the town and the types of development Derry should see.
The Housing Authority recently appointed a new director, Robert Fleig and the DEDC has recently begun advertising for a new, permanent executive director, Marcoux said.
The new DEDC director will also serve as economic development director for the town, which will contribute $60,000 to the development director's salary. The director will focus on bringing business to Derry, said Marcoux.
Downtown revitalization, another major development goal, will also be a part of the plan. One of the purposes of the Exit 4A project when it was conceived more than 20 years ago was to revitalize downtown Derry by alleviating congestion along the roadway, said Town Councilor Jack Dowd, who has worked on the project since 1988.
"The businesses are becoming better and more upscale," Dowd said in an interview yesterday. "If we can remove the commuter traffic from Broadway and Crystal Avenue, we'll see a growth in business coming downtown."
A decrease in congestion will increase pedestrian traffic for business, as shoppers will be able to drive to the downtown and enjoy the thriving businesses that fill the once-empty storefronts, Dowd said.
By BENJAMIN KEPPLE
Union Leader Staff
16 hours, 32 minutes ago
MANCHESTER ? The mill building at 300 Bedford St. has been sold for $3.75 million to a Connecticut-based real-estate firm, the building's former owners have confirmed.
Elbes Associates sold the sprawling building, also known as the Tower Mill Center, to College Street Management LLC, a New Haven-based property management firm. The building is north of the SEE Science Center on the street that runs between Canal and Commercial streets.
"We felt the time was right," said Dahn Cohen, an Elbes Associates principal, about the sale. "In the current climate, we feel it's the right price."
Calls to College Street Management seeking comment weren't returned yesterday. But the company is known for converting office or other commercial buildings to residential use. That's exactly what was discussed for the building back in April, when College Street Management was doing its due diligence on the property.
Cohen, however, said it is unclear whether College Street Management will convert the building into apartments or condominiums, or whether it will keep the structure mixed-use. According to College Street Management's Web site, the company also looks at buying office properties with an eye toward upgrading them.
That's given some tenants in the building, who very much like their space, hope they'll be able to stay there. Karen Silverstein, who owns Dance Studios of Manchester on the lower floor, said she "couldn't be happier." She has spent some 18 years in the building.
"I'm paying month-by-month and, right now, I'm just waiting to see what they do with the building," Silverstein said.
The Tower Mill Center property is five stories tall and has roughly 150,000 square feet of space. It has been associated with the Cohen family since 1940, when Cohen's grandfather Eli founded the Bee Bee Shoe Co.
The building itself is somewhat maze-like inside: There are several different entrances into the structure, and lots of small offices and shops present. Some 31 tenants are listed on the building's main outdoor sign.
Listed tenants include lending firm American Brokers Conduit, public-relations firm Brainium Inc., H&L Distribution Inc. and Mitch Rosen Extraordinary Gunleather LLC, which makes holsters and related products for firearms.
If College Street Management were to convert the building into apartments or condominiums, it would be the first such conversion of former industrial/commercial space to residential space in the Millyard.
^Derry is about 8 miles southeast of Manchester, right off of I-93. It is definitely Manchester's largest suburb with a population of about 36,000. I personally like Derry because it's one of the few suburbs around here with a real downtown. Their high school, Pinkerton Academy, is easily one of the nicest in the state, and looks a lot more like a college campus than a high school.
Right now there are still those townhouses under construction south of the ballpark and two 6 story condo towers planned bordering the ballpark to the south. All of this is being developed by this guy Eric Chinburg, out of the seacoast, who has a very good reputation in the state. I think he also signed a development deal w/ the city obligating him to build the 2 towers. So, it does look like they will come to fruition, hopefully sooner rather than later. There are also plans for a restaurant on the river just west of the Hilton by another developer.
Other than the riverfront area, there is not a whole lot developing that would interest people here. The Pandora mill hotel, and UNH Manchester expansion look promising but they are a long way from construction. There is a fair amount of condo/retail development going on around, but it's more suburban in layout and design.
I do think the city could be more welcoming to development downtown and in the Millyard. Look at the Pandora mill, the city is holding up that project, rather than expediting it.
wow, derry sounds like a pretty nice location/size. it is essentially the same size as burlington, vermont. if it has that many people there and has a "downtown" wouldnt that make it not a suburb? we have a town west of us (westbrook) with about 18,000 people, but it is less a suburb than a city proper...at least thats the way i see it. and south portland is its own urban center as designated by the census bureau....is it different for derry? and if so why? we have a 40,000 person town in our metro area but it is 45 mins away (we have a giant metro geographically speaking)....i cant imagine if it were only 8 miles away. manchester needs a new high rise.
Salem Exit 2 area booming
By BENJAMIN KEPPLE
Union Leader Staff
Monday, Jun. 12, 2006
SALEM ? When drivers leave the I-93 highway at Exit 2, one of the first sights they see upon exiting is the impressive structure of a four-story office building being built along Pelham Road.
It is perhaps the most visible sign of a building boom in the area, which has several structures now under construction or planned to be built, many of which are destined to become medical offices.
There's so much work being done that some town officials say the last time they saw this level of construction activity was during the heyday of the 1980s.
"It's very, very high compared to previous years; certainly, there's a lot of activity," said Ross Moldoff, Salem's planning director. "There's a lot going on and it's come up over the past year or two."
Projects presently being built or planned include a four-story, 65,400-square-foot office building at 25 Pelham Road; two 36,000-square-foot medical office buildings, at 11 and 23 Keewaydin Drive; and a 30,000-square-foot office building at 29 Stiles Road. Elsewhere in Salem, a retail plaza with nearly 62,000 square feet of space is being built on North Broadway.
The Exit 2 area offers plenty of attractions for businesses.
"It's right on the Massachusetts border, virtually. It's right next to I-93. There are great tax benefits to doing business up here. It's just the right environment at the right time," said Nanci Carney, who chairs the board of directors of the Greater Salem Chamber of Commerce.
Construction is booming around I-93's Exit 2 in Salem, such as at this four-story, 65,400-square-foot office building at 25 Pelham Road. (BENJAMIN KEPPLE)
It's also a friendly location for air travelers, Carney said. Those heading to international locations can get on the freeway and head to Logan International Airport in Boston, and domestic travelers can reach Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in as little as 15 minutes, Carney said.
"We're seeing a lot of companies move into that area," she said.
Synchronized Manufacturing Technologies, which is located at 19 Keewaydin Drive and is right near Exit 2, is one such company which found the location perfect for its needs.
"It's really very convenient for us. We looked at Methuen and Salem (Mass.) and Lawrence, but we just thought we would do better in southern New Hampshire," said Alan Kule, Sychronized Manufacturing's president.
According to Kule, the Exit 2 location offers his 20-employee firm several advantages. Taxes are lower, health insurance and business insurance is cheaper, and it's easy to attract employees and customers from both the Route 128 belt in Massachusetts and Manchester and Concord to the north.
Developers see things the same way.
"Obviously, being across the border is a significant and a real advantage. New Hampshire does have a business advantage and there's just no ifs, ands or buts about it," said Chris Goodnow, owner of Goodnow Real Estate Services, a real estate marketing firm.
Goodnow is marketing the 30,000 square feet planned at 29 Stiles Road. Construction is scheduled to begin this week on the building, the first of two. Salem-based Park Place Realty Trust is the owner behind the project.
According to Goodnow, the developers plan to market the 29 Stiles Road building as office condos to physicians and others in the medical field, available for sale or lease. Most of the interest in the building has come from prospective condo buyers, he said.
Selling the space, as opposed to leasing it, offers advantages for the developers as well as the buyers. Interest rates have made it attractive to buy office condo space, and Goodnow said that, generally speaking, the market for buying office space has been quite strong in southern New Hampshire. The leasing market has been somewhat weaker.
Some, however, wonder about all the development taking place. Along Stiles Road, there are several signs advertising available office space, and that has prompted surprise among some that new work would take place nearby.
"You still see a lot of 'vacant' and 'space available' signs, so you kind of scratch your head," Kule said.
However, others point out that the spaces being advertised are generally for smaller blocks of office space, in buildings which are pretty full. Plus, they're different types of buildings than the new construction being built.
"What there are not a lot of are larger blocks of office space. They've been absorbed," Goodnow said. "I think there's clearly some opportunities."
Joe Friedman, president of Brooks Properties, said demand for medical office space in the area is strong. His company is building the two medical office buildings along Keewaydin Drive: one is already under construction. The offices will be available for sale or lease.
Friedman said the population of doctors in the area has increased, and that physicians are willing to update their facilities and move to a new facility in a new location. His company is in the process of talking with tenants, he said.
"There's a lot of demand for medical office space at Exit 2, and we're responding to that demand," said Friedman.
I would say Salem is about 20 minutes or so from Manchester. It's probably more a suburb of Boston than Manchester seeing as how it's perched right on the stateline. Even though it's closer to Manchester, there are a ton of Boston commuters living there.