MANCHESTER — Manchester aldermen have allocated $575,000 in housing funds to gut and rehabilitate a dilapidated Red-X building in a densely populated neighborhood on Granite Street.
The private, nonprofit organization NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire will receive a 30-year, no-interest loan to do the work at 459 Granite St., said Leon LeFreniere, Manchester director of planning and community development.
Over the past decade, NeighborWorks has invested heavily in the neighborhood, Lafreniere said.
The $575,000 is from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which the city administers.
LaFreniere said money from the HOME program must be used to fund housing options for people of low or moderate income. Aldermen approved the project last week.
The loan will also fund the acquisition of the property; NeighborWorks bought it for $103,000 at a city auction of tax-deeded properties in January.
Telephone calls to NeighborWorks Executive Director Robert Tourigny were not returned on Thursday.
The fire department has given 459 Granite St. a Red-X designation, meaning it is structurally unsound and firefighters have to be extremely cautious when entering.
The building has been vacant for about four years, neighbors told the New Hampshire Union Leader earlier this year.
At that time, neighbors questioned the structural integrity of the building, and several said they’d like to see the building leveled and the lot turned into a small park.
Plans on file with the city say the project will cost $668,000 in total.
The redesign plans call for four 2-bedroom apartments, a fire suppression system and upgraded landscaping.
LaFreniere said NeighborWorks will not have to comply with city codes for off-street parking because the project involves building rehabilitation and not new construction.
Years ago, NeighborWorks eyed the Granite Square neighborhood around the Cashin Senior Center for a neighborhood stabilization program.
The organization acquired nine apartment buildings and sold most of them to first-time homebuyers.
NeighborWorks kept one of the buildings and hopes to consolidate that with 459 Granite St. to create a 14-unit project in the neighborhood, which NeighborWorks will own and manage, Tourigny wrote the city.
Under terms of the HOME program, the tenants must have household incomes of 80 percent or less of the adjusted median income of the area, which amounts to $59,500 for a family of three, $66,100 for a family of four. Monthly rent and utilities combined cannot exceed $1,177.
YOU ONLY GET ONE CHANCE to make a first impression, the adage goes.
LaFreniere said tenants will most likely be families, but NeighborWorks tries to put a mix of different renters in its buildings.
“They stay on top of things. They work with their tenants, and they do a lot of tenant screening beforehand,” LaFreniere said. “They’ve been a good partner for the city in many different ways.”
Under terms of the loan, NeighborWorks will use half of its cash flow to pay down the principal. At the end of the 30 years, it will repay whatever balance remains.