Concord Monitor – Housing project called ‘Monitor Way’ along Merrimack River taking shape
By MICHAELA TOWFIGHI Monitor staff
Aug 12, 2022
Since signing a purchase of sale agreement for a 95-acre parcel behind the Monitor building, Kevin Lacasse, CEO of New England Family Housing, has gotten to work.
Lacasse and his team have drafted conceptual plans for the land, hired a public relations firm and this week, they met the with Penacook residents for feedback on the proposed development.
The proposal now consists of 652 housing units, as well as business and storage space. The housing component includes affordable and market-rate apartments, as well as condos for sale.
The Penacook Village Association held a meeting at Penacook Elementary School this week, where Lacasse and Ed Roberge, who works for the engineering firm Stantec, presented the conceptual designs.
“The residents were very open to it,” Lacasse said. “Everyone recognizes that there is a need for housing in Merrimack County.”
The proposal for hundreds of additional housing units comes at time where the rental vacancy rate in Merrimack County is 0.3%.
This means that one out of every 333 units is available, Lacasse noted.
Next, the New England Family Housing team will meet with Concord’s planning department to discuss the zoning of the land and site approval.
In an interview with New Hampshire Business Review, Lacasse said he will utilize the new InvestNH Housing Fund for this project. The $100 million fund, recently announced by Governor Chris Sununu, is available to help developers finance new housing projects in the state. Lacasse estimates the project will cost between $150 to $200 million.
Although the project is still in the development phase, resident input is a step forward. The land was listed at $3.285 million. The Monitor building is not included in the sale.
Lacasse hopes to have site approval by next spring, although there are numerous steps to work through before that, he said.
“He has a plan that should help keep housing accessible for the people of Penacook and Concord,” Aaron Julien, chairman of Newspapers of New England, which owns the Monitor and surrounding land, said in May when the agreement was announced. “He’s been great to work with, and we wish him the best.”
Michaela Towfighi is a Report for America corps member covering the Two New Hampshires for the Monitor. She graduated from Duke University with a degree in public policy and journalism and media studies in 2022. At Duke she covered education, COVID-19, the 2020 election and helped edit stories about the Durham County Courthouse for The 9th Street Journal and the triangle area’s alt-weekly Indy Week. Her story about a family grappling with a delayed trial for a fatal car accident in Concord won first place in Duke’s Melcher Family Award for Excellence in Journalism. Towfighi is an American expat who calls London, England, home despite being born in Boston.