Jan 21, 2016 12:53 PM

Manchester approves tax credit application for renovation of Citizens Bank building


MANCHESTER — The city has approved a tax credit application requested by developer Bill Binnie, who plans to renovate the Citizens Bank building on Elm Street.

According to the Union Leader, Binnie, who owns NH1 News, spoke to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Tuesday to discuss his plans for the building. Binnie is general partner for the building’s ownership.

“We want to turn this building around because it’s at the heart of the city of Manchester,” said Binnie. “It does need a great deal of capital and needs a lot of focus.”

The redevelopment plan includes retail space on the ground floor, including the Citizens Bank and 94 one- and two-bedroom apartments on the upper floors.

Binnie said his firm has been in negotiations with Starbucks about moving into a first-floor spot.

City leaders responded positively to the proposal. “I think this project, as proposed, is exciting for our city,” said Manchester Economic Development Director William Craig. “It has the potential to be transformative.”

The Board of Mayor and Alderman unanimously approved Binnie's application for the tax credit, which is designed for developers who improve blighted properties in downtown areas. It allows them to delay paying property taxes on the value of the improvements.

The Citizens Bank building is currently assessed at $10.2 million and the proposed renovations total $3 million.

Binnie said he expects the first apartment tenant could be in the building by the end of 2016, while the first retail tenant could open during the first quarter of 2017.

Binnie said demolition work at the site is well underway.

“We’re six months in,” said Binnie. “We just completed the demolition. We took out 700 tons of metal. There was about 14 tons of copper and bronze, and hundreds and hundreds of dumpsters. It took us almost six weeks to get the furniture out.”

(Disclosure: Bill Binnie is owner of Binnie Media, parent company of NH1 News)


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