Developer seeks Capital Commons financing help

The developer of the Capital Commons office project under construction on South Main Street in Concord has received a $400,000 loan guarantee from the Capital Regional Development Council – a pledge that should help secure bank financing for the remainder of the $11 million project.

Capital Commons — a 102,000-square-foot brick and glass tower across from the Capitol Center for the Arts at the site of the former Sears building – will include office space as well as a first-floor restaurant and a basement arts cinema with two theaters.

Bill Norton, vice chairman of the Concord 2020 initiative, said such an entertainment and business complex could make the lower part of Concord’s downtown livable and vibrant.

“We want this kind of concentrated development in our urban growth core where we have water and sewer,” Norton said.

Interim city manager Tom Aspell said the city council might consider joining the financing alliance when elected officials meet later this week.

“The city has not agreed to do anything on it yet,” Aspell stressed. “The councilors will see if they want to work with the development council on it. For now, things are just between the council, the bank and (Portsmouth-based developer) Mike Simchik. He’s trying to do a closing on the rest of his financing.”

Matt Walsh, the city planner assigned to Capital Commons, said it would anchor revitalization plans for the whole South End of Main Street. The city has approved borrowing $14 million to build its own 510-space parking garage beside the high rise, using a tax incentive finance district to fund it. Future taxes on Capital Commons would support the interest and principal payments for the city’s long-term note.

Concord used a similar $5.5 million TIF to spur rapid private development of the office complex at Horseshoe Pond. Property values there have grown from $3 million to $50 million, Walsh said, and the city’s bond payments are years ahead of schedule.

“It was a 20-year bond. It’s more like 12 now,” he said. – CHRIS DORNIN/GOLDEN DOME NEWS SERVICE

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