Gilford Community Church provides a grant of $25,000 in support of the redevelopment of the Gale School in Belmont. The project will transform the historic schoolhouse into a community facility that will include a new early learning center operated by the Boys & Girls Club and a new program center operated by Lakes Region Community Services.
“The Gilford Community Church is excited to disburse one of two grant-based contributions of the Daniell Fund to the Gale School Project,” said Jessica Fleck, Outreach Committee Chair of Gilford Community Church. “In these times of uncertainty and challenges for families, being able to support a project that will serve young children and families, fulfills our mission to support local charitable organizations that enrich and improve the quality of life for our community. It will be amazing to watch the Gale School be brought back to life and become a home for two vital programs for this area. We are very thankful to be able to help with the final fit-up needs for the school.”
“We are incredibly grateful to have the support of the Gilford Community Church,” said Carmen Lorentz, Executive Director of Lakes Region Community Developers (LRCD), the developer of the project. “This generous grant will ensure we have the necessary funds for the final fit-up of the school. Bringing the Gale School back to life so it can serve children and families once again is only possible because of the support provided by community businesses and organizations, like the Gilford Community Church.”
Construction on the Gale School could begin in the later months of this year if all funds are secured as planned.
The Gale School was built in 1894, and was used by the Belmont school district until the mid-1980s. The building has been mostly vacant since then, and years of neglect have taken their toll. The Gale School was named to the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places in 2018, and was selected as one of New Hampshire’s Seven to Save in 2017.
In July 2020, the building was successfully moved by the local Save Our Gale School Committee (SOGS) to a new location at 60 Concord Street in Belmont Village. LRCD agreed to partner with SOGS to redevelop the building.
(Meredith, NH) – Construction began January 3rd on Lakes Region Community Developers’ (LRCD) $5.4 million project to renovate the 25-unit Deer Run apartment complex at 62 Pleasant Street in Meredith, NH. Construction is scheduled to last 12 months. Upon completion, the property name will change to Harvey Heights.
“This project has been five years in the making and we’ve had to overcome many obstacles,” said Carmen Lorentz, LRCD’s Executive Director. “I’m proud of our team for persisting against all odds to preserve these affordable units and bring them up to our healthy housing standards.”
LRCD purchased the property in 2016. It was built in the 1970s using a US Department of Agriculture – Rural Development financing program that requires the property be maintained as affordable housing for 40 years. After that, the owner can essentially do what they want with the property. In this case, the owner wanted to sell it.
Given the property’s location, LRCD believed there was a high likelihood the property would have been redeveloped as high-end housing, meaning 25 units of affordable housing would have been lost. LRCD purchased the property to preserve it as affordable housing. Due to the scarcity of resources in New Hampshire to develop and renovate affordable housing, it took LRCD five years to put all the funding together. “It’s unbelievably competitive when you apply for funding,” said Lorentz. “The need is so great, but the resources are very limited.”
Planned improvements include interior renovations to all apartments, the addition of a sprinkler system for life safety, and a multitude of energy efficiency improvements, including new windows, doors, insulation, and siding. The goal of the project is to ensure the units have good indoor air quality and are energy efficient, which is good for the tenants, the community, and the environment. The project also includes improvements to the grounds.
The property will remain occupied throughout construction. Blocks of four apartments will be vacated on a rolling basis to complete the interior renovations.
Funders that made this project possible include Raymond James Tax Credit Fund, New Hampshire Housing, New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development, Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, NeighborWorks America, and Rural LISC. Construction financing is provided by Franklin Savings Bank. Permanent financing is provided by NeighborWorks Capital and USDA – Rural Development. North Branch Construction is the construction manager. Stewart Associates Architects and Northpoint Engineering comprise the design team.
Northway Bank purchased $25,000 in New Hampshire business tax credits from Lakes Region Community Developers (LRCD) to support the final phase of renovations later this year at 193 Court Street, Laconia. LRCD was awarded $200,000 in tax credits and has $9,000 left to sell by May 31st.
“This project contributes to revitalization of downtown Laconia and enhances LRCD’s ability to carry out its mission,” said Christopher Dickinson, Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking Group of Northway Bank. Chris is also a member of the LRCD Board. “As a community bank, we care deeply about housing and community development, which is what LRCD does. Investing in the Court Street project makes perfect sense based on our priorities.”
“We are so grateful for partners like Northway Bank,” said Carmen Lorentz, Executive Director of LRCD. “We can’t do our work without the support of our local business community.”
In 2019, Lakes Region Community Developers (LRCD) bought the old Walter’s Market building to turn it into their new headquarters and a neighborhood center to host events and trainings for their tenants in Laconia. LRCD planned for two phases of renovations due to funding constraints. Phase 1 included interior renovations, new insulation and siding on the southwest facing exterior wall, and improvements to the front façade of the building. Phase 1 was finished in October 2019.
Phase 2 will include drainage and parking lot improvements to enhance safety and accessibility, insulation in the attic, insulation and new siding on the northeast exterior wall and back of the building, and HVAC upgrades.
The tax credits are administered by New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA). Any business with operations in NH that contributes to a CDFA tax credit project receives a NH state tax credit worth 75% of their contribution. The credit can be used over a period of five years to reduce the business’ state tax liability (business profits, business enterprise or insurance premium taxes). The tax credit program allows NH businesses to use their state tax dollars to support local projects that they care about.
Businesses interested in supporting this project by purchasing tax credits should contact Carmen Lorentz at (603) 524-0747 ext 110.
Lakes Region Community Developers’ vision is for everyone to live in a healthy home and be empowered to succeed. Founded in 1988 as the Laconia Area Community Land Trust, LRCD has developed 365 healthy rental homes in Ashland, Gilford, Laconia, Meredith, Tilton, and Wolfeboro. In 2017, LRCD expanded its mission to include new types of real estate development and new programming that empowers their tenants to effect positive change in their communities. For more information, visit LRcommunitydevelopers.org.
Northway Bank is an independent community commercial bank, with 16 branches throughout New Hampshire. The Bank was established in 1881 and provides financial solutions for customers, communities, municipalities, and businesses.
LRCD Completes Renovation Project on Ashland Apartment Complex
Virtual Open House Now Available!
Lakes Region Community Developers (LRCD) recently completed renovations on Ames Brook Apartments, a 40-unit apartment complex located on Ledgewood Lane in Ashland.
The property was built in 1975, and in an effort to preserve it as part of the Lakes Region’s affordable housing stock, LRCD purchased it in November 2016. It took three years for them to assemble the five million dollars needed for improvements. Construction began in July 2019.
LRCD’s vision is for everyone to live in a healthy home – one that is energy efficient, has excellent indoor air quality, and is free of any hazardous materials such as lead paint, asbestos, or mold. Ames Brook Apartments required significant rehabilitation to bring it up to LRCD’s healthy housing standards.
Working with Stewart Associates Architects, NorthPoint Engineering, and North Branch Construction, the renovation transformed the property inside and out, improving safety, accessibility, ventilation, energy efficiency and aesthetics.
Exterior upgrades included a new parking lot, new roofs, new windows, decks, additional insulation and more, while on the inside there are new kitchens, new bathrooms, and carpets replaced with low VOC vinyl flooring. The fire alarm system was upgraded and a sprinkler system was installed. In addition, two of the 40 units were converted into fully ADA compliant apartments, where none were available before. Common areas also received a face lift.
Ames Brook was LRCD’s first occupied rehabilitation project, adding a new layer of complexity to the process. Residents had to be relocated to new apartments, with some of them having to move twice. LRCD is grateful for their cooperation and good humor through 14 months of construction.
LRCD wishes to thank the following organizations without which the project would not have been possible: Raymond James Tax Credit Fund, New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority, Franklin Savings Bank, New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, the US Department of Housing & Urban Development, the US Department of Agriculture – Rural Development, Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, Rural LISC, NeighborWorks America and the Town of Ashland.
Ames Brook Apartments is managed by The Hodges Companies of Concord, who has provided third-party property management services for LRCD for 13 years.
“This was a challenging project, but we are immensely proud of it,” said Carmen Lorentz, LRCD’s Executive Director. “It’s so gratifying to hear from the tenants how much they love their new apartments.”
LRCD welcomes you to take a virtual tour of the new Ames Brook Apartments to see all the improvements. Visit LRcommunitydevelopers.org for the Ames Brook Apartments Virtual Open House.