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March 26. 2013 10:19PM

Nashua housing project seeks $300,000 in federal grant money

NASHUA - Less than two months after city officials granted significant tax relief to the Cotton Mill Square housing project, aldermen on Tuesday were asked to allocate an additional $300,000 in federal funds for the development.

The request was not discussed by aldermen on Tuesday, but was instead assigned to the aldermanic Human Affairs Committee for further review.

However, two local residents spoke in opposition of the proposal, urging aldermen to reject the request.

Cotton Mill Square, LLC, is in the process of revitalizing a historic city building into numerous apartment units.

Last month, the Board of Aldermen granted developer John Stabile five years of tax relief under the city's Community Revitalization Tax Relief Incentive Program to help assist with the $25 million housing plan. The revitalization of the 108-year-old historic building on Front Street includes the construction of more than 100 apartment units.

Alderman-at-Large Lori Wilshire is sponsoring the proposed resolution that would authorize Cotton Mill Square to utilize an additional $300,000 of HOME Affordable Housing Development Funds for the apartment project. According to the resolution, Cotton Mill Square has requested an additional $300,000 of HOME Investment Partnership program funds necessary to finance the project.

Although this will have no fiscal impact on the city since the requested authorization is for federal funds, two local residents argued Tuesday that Stabile has received enough assistance already.

"It is just almost insane," said Dave Wentt of Nashua, noting Stabile is already receiving tax relief on the housing project and is now seeking additional federal funds.

Wentt said the city is practically paying for the project itself.

"It is a lot of money that we are giving away," said Wentt. "How much more are we going to give this gentleman?"

The tax relief will enable Stabile to pay property taxes on the current assessed value of the property, which is less than $2 million, as opposed to the new assessed value once the project is complete, a number that has not yet officially been determined. The total tax savings throughout the five years is estimated at about $250,000.

"I don't believe that Mr. Stabile should get another penny either," former alderman Paula Johnson told the Board of Aldermen.

She compared Stabile to businessman Donald Trump, warning city officials that the "use it or lose it" mentality with federal funding is not wise. She urged aldermen to send the money back to the federal government to help reduce the deficit.

The first reading of the proposed resolution seeking authorization for an additional $300,000 in federal funds for the affordable housing project took place on Tuesday. Once the aldermanic committee reviews the request further, the proposal will be voted on by the full Board of Aldermen in the coming weeks.

Once the eight-story building is revitalized at 30 Front St., it will offer mixed-income housing with 55 affordable apartments and 54 market-rate apartments.

khoughton@newstote.com


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