Nashua apartments

This conceptual architectural rendering depicts a seven-story apartment complex, School Street Flats, which is being considered for downtown Nashua.

Under a proposal being presented to Nashua officials this week, a Florida developer is hoping to construct a seven-story apartment complex on property currently used as a downtown parking lot.

Aldermen will be presented with a master development agreement with Lansing Melbourne Group, LLC, for the city-owned parking lot on School Street.

“We are excited. Even though we are in these unusual times, from an economic development perspective we are still working with major developers to push some exciting projects,” Tim Cummings, economic development director, said on Monday.

The proposal includes the sale of the parking lot parcel for $900,000. The site is located about one block from Main Street, and is across from the Harbor Homes facility on High Street; it now serves as a public parking lot.

According to the proposed master development agreement, the developer intends to construct a 160,000-square-foot building with 150 apartments.

Conceptual plans include a seven-story building with 42 studio units, 76 one-bedroom units and 32 two-bedroom units.

“I think it is understood, not just in Nashua but within the state and definitely within the region, that more housing is necessary,” said Cummings. “We are looking to increase housing to support the hiring of some of our larger employers who are telling us they are looking to hire, but employees are having a rough time finding housing.”

Lansing Melbourne Group, LLC, of Florida, is a developer with a great reputation that has previously completed projects in Manchester, according to Cummings.

“This has been a long-term project that my office has been working on,” he said, adding a request for proposals was sent out in 2017 — at a time when the city had just invested significant resources into the downtown, specifically new sidewalks and the completion of the Broad Street Parkway.

Although a purchase and sale agreement is not yet in place, Cummings said the proposed master development agreement will serve to align the terms of a future purchase and sale.

“We are just at the very starting point of the approval process,” said Cummings, noting the master development agreement will need to be authorized before a purchase and sale agreement is finalized, followed by site plan approval and other requirements.

Mayor Jim Donchess said recently that the vacancy rate for apartments in Nashua is at a record low of .6%, and rents increased 19% over the past four years.

“Housing is a critical need for our residents, for our business community and for a healthier economy,” said Donchess. “ … We need to add housing of all types — market rate and affordable apartments, as well as single family homes.”

After the School Street Flats concept is introduced to aldermen on Tuesday, the master development agreement will be reviewed by an aldermanic committee before being considered by the full board.