Former Mohawk Tannery

The former Mohawk Tannery in Nashua remains gated and locked at the corner of Fairmount Street and Warsaw Avenue.

The former Mohawk Tannery site in Nashua is a step closer to being converted into a mixed-use development with up to 300 apartments.

Under a proposed agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, developer Bernie Plante of Blaylock Holdings LLC would be reimbursed up to $6 million from the EPA to help pay for an 18-month cleanup project expected to cost $14 million, EPA spokeswoman Mikayla Rumph said Tuesday.

The city also is considering tax increment financing to help support redevelopment of the 30-acre site, she said.

About 56,000 cubic yards of contamination from the tannery parcel, the nearby Fimbel Door landfill site and a city right-of-way will be encapsulated as part of the settlement, according to the agreement.

The site — along the Nashua River at the corner of Fairmount Street and Warsaw Avenue near the F.E. Everett Turnpike’s Exit 6 — was previously deemed to be leaching hazardous substances into the river due to disposal practices at the tannery, also known as Granite State Leathers. The company produced tanned hides from 1924 to 1984.

The agreement, developed in coordination with the city and the state Department of Environmental Services, is expected to save taxpayers about $8 million in costs that would have been necessary if the EPA performed the cleanup on its own, according to a news release.

Plante previously entered a purchase-and-sale agreement to acquire the tannery parcel and build dozens and potentially hundreds of apartments or condominiums on the property and two neighboring parcels, including the former Fimbel Door landfill site.

Tim Cummings, economic development director for the city, said earlier that conceptual plans for the site include up to 300 apartments. Zoning would allow four- or five-story buildings, possibly with a blend of row houses or townhouses, according to Cummings.

The cleanup project will target hazardous substances present in soils, sludges and contaminated waste originating from the site, the release said.

The EPA is receiving written comments from the public on the proposed settlement until March 15. Although the EPA and U.S. Department of Justice have approved the agreement, it is still subject to public comment, Rumph said.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021