Brady Sullivan wants to build 110 apartments in a five-story office building on Manchester’s Elm Street that once housed 300 workers from Southern New Hampshire University.
“The bottom line is the city needs more apartments,” partner Arthur Sullivan said Monday. “We have zero vacancies in our (600) units in the city.”
The project at 1230 Elm St. needs a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment to exceed the city’s density requirements. It will go before the ZBA at 6 p.m. Thursday in the aldermanic chambers at City Hall.
The current city zoning would allow only 36 apartment units, a third of what the company is proposing, according to a project summary.
“It has to be 110 units in order to make it a viable project for us,” Sullivan said.
They would be mostly two-bedroom units rented at market rates. Sullivan said his company typically sets rents near the time it is ready to start leasing.
The building, which Brady Sullivan has owned since the 1990s, has one remaining tenant, Emerson Ecologics, that he hopes to relocate to another company-owned location.
SNHU, which had its lease end, had about 300 people working there before COVID-19 struck in 2020, according to Lauren Keane, the university’s associate vice president of communications.
“SNHU moved its operations (IT, HR, Communications, Legal, etc.) out of 1230 Elm in December of 2021 and consolidated all operations to the Millyard,” Keane said in an email.
Brady Sullivan already is in the process of converting several floors of office space at 1000 Elm St. into more than 100 apartments.
Sullivan said he’s not worried about finding enough renters.
“The city really, really needs more units,” he said.
A letter from a project engineer at Fuss & O’Neill stated the project for Air Tight LLC, a Brady Sullivan-related entity, involved “110 affordable multifamily residential units.”
Sullivan, however, said the company will rent the apartments at the going market rate and not at affordable or workforce rates, which typically run hundreds of dollars a month cheaper and involve looser zoning restrictions.
“We always consider our market rates to be affordable rates,” Sullivan said.
The property has sufficient parking for people to live there.
He said the commercial market demand “is real limited” and the building’s glass facade would be attractive for apartment dwellers.
The work would take about a year to complete once city approvals are granted, Sullivan said.
The Fuss & O’Neill letter said the housing project wouldn’t diminish surrounding property values, one of five items required to secure a variance.
The project, wrote A. Cory DuBois, would boost the neighborhood.
“Increasing the unit density and thereby increasing the number of housing units will most likely increase pedestrian traffic to the surrounding properties which will result in additional workers and patrons,” the application said.
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