People and Property: Real Estate and Construction News From Around NH

Portsmouth eatery shuts its doors, Warrenstreet Architects adds new hires, EV stations in Keene ... and more
Scott Donovan

Colby’s Breakfast & Lunch in Portsmouth suddenly closes before 20th anniversaryThe owner of Colby's Breakfast & Lunch in downtown Portsmouth announced its permanent closure Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, after almost 20 years in business.

The owner of Colby’s Breakfast & Lunch announced the immediate closure of the Daniel Street staple Monday, one month shy of its 20th anniversary.

Pointing to staffing shortages, the eatery famous for its hearty egg scrambles and omelets, pancakes, sandwiches, salads and quesadillas, the owners took to Instagram to explain the reason behind the decision. A day earlier, Colby’s had posted it was closed, but didn’t say it was permanent.

“You can’t run a restaurant without staff, and staffing has proved impossible in this area,” the Colby’s Instagram post reads. “Our 20th anniversary is in October 2023, and we have opted not to renew the lease. It’s simply not worth the stress. Thank you for being part of this journey, and may better days lay ahead for us all.”

From the early 1980s to 2000, the commercial space being vacated by Colby’s operated as Karen’s Restaurant, then became Roxanne’s Restaurant under the ownership of Diane Giese.

In 2003, Colby, then 30 years old and working at Roxanne’s, bought the establishment with former business partner Keith Barringer and transformed it into his own namesake dine-in and takeout location. The two added a new stove, changed the sign hanging outside the building and made a few interior upgrades, and opened their restaurant less than two weeks after the sale was finalized.

Colby, a longtime waiter at the former New York-style Goldi’s Deli on Penhallow Street, later became the sole proprietor of Colby’s business in 2007. That year, Barringer and Brook Gassner opened Rudi’s Portsmouth, then five years later opened Rudi’s Market Square, both of which were closed in January 2022. — IAN LENAHAN/PORTSMOUTH HERALD

Casino gets OK at former Sears at Pheasant Lane Mall

The owners of the former Sears store at the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua got the OK last week to use the space as a casino featuring two floors of historic horse racing machines, table games and three restaurants.

The proposal stirred up opposition based on anticipated increases in traffic and need for police coverage. The size of the project also worried at least one planning board member. After a public hearing that lasted several hours, the board voted 4-1 to approve the plans.

City Engineer Dan Hudson said the space and location are ideal, given its proximity to the F.E. Everett Turnpike.

EC NH Real Estate Holding, Inc. bought the former Sears anchor spot for $11.5 million in November, according to the Hillsborough County Registry of Deeds.

ECL Entertainment and Clairvest, a Toronto-based private equity firm, bought the Lucky Moose Casino and Tavern and The River Casino & Sports Bar, both in Nashua, to enable them to eventually open a “leading gaming operation in Southern New Hampshire.”

The mall has Dick’s Sporting Goods, JCPenney, Target and Macy’s as anchors. The Sears store, which opened in 1986, closed in 2020.

ECL acquired NHCG, LLC and The River Property & Hospitality Group, LLC, which are grandfathered operations in the state. The license to operate runs with the LLC, according to NH Lottery.

NHCG launched historic horse racing in October 2022 with 65 machines at the Lucky Moose Casino and Tavern.

In all, there will be 1,200 historic horse racing machines and 62 table games at the mall casino, according to the plans. Another 300 machines could be added in the future. Part of 150,000-square-foot space will be leased to other businesses. — JONATHAN PHELPS/UNION LEADER

Warrenstreet Architects welcomes new members to the team

Quayny Porter Brown

Quayny Porter-Brown

Scott Donovan

Scott Donovan

Quayny Porter-Brown and Scott Donovan have joined Warrenstreet Architects as project architect and senior project architect, respectively.

Receiving an M.Arch from Yale University School of Architecture and BA in Art History from Vassar College, Quayny is a New Hampshire Licensed Architect and WELL Accredited Professional with over 28 years of experience in all aspects of project management, firm administration and the application of human-centered health and wellness design practices in the built environment. Prior to joining Warrenstreet she most recently served as Operations and Project Manager for Anderson Porter Design, Inc., of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

With 25 years of experience managing projects within a multitude of governmental, commercial, corporate, educational, residential and public and privately held market sectors, Donovan joined the 15-member design group in 2019, is a LEED Accredited Professional and serves as Senior Project Architect.

Work set to start on Keene’s first fast-charging station for EVs

Installation work is set to start on Sept. 25 in the Monadnock Food Co-op’s parking lot on the region’s first public fast-charging station for electric vehicles.

When the project is completed in November, people will be able to go to the co-op, plug in their car, do their shopping and drive off in a fully charged vehicle, co-op General Manager Michael Faber said Monday.

He said the charging station will fit in with the co-op’s overall goal of aiding in environmental initiatives, including use of solar panels and its support for composting and sustainable agricultural practices.

Consumers will pay for using the charging station. The co-op will set a price sufficient for it to recover its investment and ongoing costs in the project, Faber said.

The NH Department of Environmental Services is covering about $308,000 of the cost of the project, or 80% of the price tag. The co-op will pay for the other 20%.

The state money is part of nearly $31 million New Hampshire received in a U.S. Department of Justice settlement with Volkswagen over allegations that the automobile company cheated on federal emissions tests.

A contract approved by the NH Executive Council in February for the project requires that the chargers must be available to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Gov. Chris Sununu has dedicated about $5 million from the settlement fund for electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the state, including the project in Keene.

The local project will have two level-three direct current fast chargers and two level-two alternating current chargers.

The faster devices can charge a vehicle to up to 80% of its capacity in about 30 minutes, while this would take several hours with a level-two charger, according to the Car and Driver magazine’s website.

The Monadnock Sustainability Hub, a regional environmental nonprofit, helped the co-op with its application to the state to seek funding for the project and raised $30,000 to contribute to the project.

“We identified Keene’s Monadnock Food Co-op, an existing clean energy project partner, as offering an ideal charging site, between Routes 101 and 9 through Keene.” — RICK GREEN/KEENE SENTINEL

Redstone couple first to get rental license

A couple in Redstone were the first to get a license and safety inspection from the town after it kicked off its rental inspection program.

Selectmen voted 5-0 on Aug. 5 to start the program licensing and inspecting both long- and short-term rentals in either single-family homes or duplexes. Deputy Town Manager Paul DegliAngli said property owners need to get their license or have applied to get one by Jan. 1.

Property owners will have two choices between now and Dec. 31. One is to fill out a form and pay $375 and allow a fire department official to inspect their rental property based on a 10-point life safety checklist. If they pass, they will get a rental license good for three years. This form would have to be notarized.

The second option allows owners to fill out a “self-affidavit” confirming their property meets the life safety codes. The form has a $125 fee and is valid for only one year.

Mary and Wayne Bolduc took the first option for their Redstone duplex on Greenstone Street. The Bolducs live on one side and their tenant on the other. They have owned the duplex since 2008.

The license, a certificate with the town seal, confirmed that the property “has passed life safety inspection, performed by local fire departments and the property is authorized to be rented. This license is valid for three years date listed above, after which you will become invalid and will need to be renewed via re-inspection.”

Criteria for the inspection includes having: the address number visible from the street; hard-wired smoke alarms; carbon monoxide alarms; sufficient egress; central heat serviced once a year; chimneys and wood stoves code-compliant; electrical system up to code; sufficient number of fire extinguishers; fire pit up to code; and grills placed in a safe location. The checklist can be viewed at

Meanwhile the Mt. Washington Valley Association for Responsible Rentals voiced qualms about the program. “Our association has always included safety guidelines for our members. Guest safety is everyone’s priority.” said the group’s president, David Cavanaugh.

“We feel that the current plan to license single-family homes is illegal and the physical inspection of single-family homes clearly violates N.H. Fire Safety Measures RSA 153:14-II which excludes inspections of homes without a court warrant,” he said.

So far, the town has issued three licenses and three affidavits, according to Administrative Assistant Valerie Kollander. — DAYMOND STEER/CONWAY DAILY SUN



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