City welcomes developer of soon-to-be rehabbed downtown commercial building

Staff reports 9:26 a.m.

City welcomes developer of soon-to-be rehabbed downtown commercial building

City Manager Blaine Cox, Mayor Caroline McCarley and 73-77 North Main St. owner Justin Gargiulo in front of the mural that adorns the side of his new building. (Courtesy photo/City of Rochester)

ROCHESTER - City Mayor Caroline McCarley and City Manager Blaine Cox took time out for a photo-op with a developer to herald news that two downtown properties have been accepted into the city's Community Revitalization Tax Relief Program.

Late last month, the city signed Covenants to Protect Public Benefit following approval from the City Council, providing tax relief for the properties at 22 South Main St., the former Rochester Bank and Trust; and 73-77 North Main St., the former Hartigan Block.

Granting the relief under state RSA (Revised Statutes Annotated) 79-E is expected to expedite the path to redevelopment for both properties and ultimately quicken the redevelopment of downtown.

Both properties will be turned into mixed-use facilities that will feature first-floor commercial space and six rental housing units on the upper floors.

"The redevelopment of both of these properties is a key step toward making downtown a more vibrant and attractive area," City Manager Blaine Cox said. "Both property owners have shown a strong desire to invest in downtown, and the Community Revitalization Tax Relief Program was designed with these types of projects in mind."

With the agreements, the properties have been granted tax breaks and incentives over a period of 11 years each, and the property owners have begun searching for interested commercial tenants to occupy the first floor units.

RSA 79-E is a New Hampshire state law that provides tax incentives for investment in historic downtowns, enabling owners to invest in refurbishing existing commercial buildings in order to extend building lifespans and promote economic vitality.