Downtown Concord: optimism in action

For those of you who have not visited our state capital lately, a very interesting phenomenon is occurring on South Main Street in downtown Concord that should provide some encouragement.While the rest of the state, and the country for that matter, is enduring an increase in office vacancy and deterioration in the stability of that asset class, downtown Concord is enjoying a renaissance with new office buildings being constructed and occupied.The new 85,000-square-foot Class A office building at 45 S. Main (the Smile Building) is 98 percent leased after being completed in 2011. A new 65,000-square-foot building is fully approved for 41 S. Main and work was expected to begin on it in April for a 2013 completion.Planning, approval and construction of the privately owned Capitol Commons office building and the publicly owned 500-plus space city parking garage laid the foundation for this continued activity.Completed in 2006, Capitol Commons’ final shell space was leased to Casey Family Services in 2011. Casey leased the remaining 25,000 square feet of the 102,000-square-foot building and relocated their operations from Loudon Road.By relocating in the heart of downtown Concord, Casey Family Services has enhanced the diversity of business operations that call Concord home. The relocation is validation that a vibrant downtown will bring businesses back to central cities with all amenities and conveniences within walking distance versus the automobile-dependent suburban settings.All of this activity is not by coincidence, but is the culmination of a cooperative effort between an extensive group of private and public entities. This joint effort fosters commitment to improving the city and ensures continuity throughout the planning process.The city of Concord is working hard to attract businesses by planting the seed of new economics.Concord is in the beginning stages of “revitalization efforts.” The principal idea is based on creating a lifestyle that combines corporate offices, commercial space, residential living, retail and dining to generate a new culture within the community. Research shows that successful revitalization results in a healthy boost to the local economy and increases the option for goods and services, thus attracting companies that create jobs and appeal to residents. The fabric of the community in general can be transformed.When downtown areas are significant to businesses and residents, that overflows into everything else, such as creating tax revenue as well as a strong sense of community. People want to live, work and spend their time in areas like downtown Concord, which reflects their lifestyle and gives them immediate access to the things most important to them.Companies are taking a second look at Concord and exploring the possibility of expanding or relocating in order to better position themselves and to take advantage of future opportunities.For the right tenant, downtown Concord and its new construction options provide a tremendous opportunity.Roger Dieker, vice president and managing broker of the Manchester office of CBRE/New England, can be reached at 603-792-2604 or