Deer Street Associates Proposes Workforce Housing in North End
As we move forward with exciting plans for our Deer Street project we want to keep you informed. To that end, we will be sending periodic emails to update you on important developments along the way. Here is our first in a series about Work Force Housing.
Thank you for your support,
Ania & Kim
Read about our latest project! >>
Developments in the North End of Portsmouth are well underway, with construction for a new municipal parking garage to begin in late April or May of this year on the corner of Deer and Bridge Street. Deer Street Associates (managed by GL Rogers and Company, Inc.) recently completed the sale of a 1.2-acre parcel of land to address the need for additional parking in the city, and they hope to develop the area even further – including the addition of workforce housing for residents of Portsmouth and the Seacoast area.
Deer Street Associates is now working with city employees and planning board members to renovate the entire Deer Street/Bridge Street area from Maplewood to Hill Street, to redefine an aging part of the city as a destination place with infrastructure and services for the community. Proposed building developments for the area include a mixture of residential, office and commercial spaces, with five workforce housing units in one of the lot buildings. Deer Street Associates has proposed a total of four mixed-use buildings and an open “community space.” They hope to see a hotel, restaurant, pharmacy, bank, rooftop bar/restaurant, and residences in these mixed-use buildings.
Located on the corner of Maplewood Avenue and Deer Street, the proposed building on Lot 5 would supply workforce housing rental units. Workforce housing units are in short supply in Portsmouth, which is “somewhat of a regional anomaly,” according to Deputy City Manager Nancy Colbert Puff. With the city acting as an economic center for the Seacoast, its population actually doubles in size during the day to accommodate the many workers who commute to work in Portsmouth. Proponents of the workforce housing units fear that with the current limited affordable housing options available, the city could force out its younger members.
“One of the things that the community values most is really this feeling of diversity in the population that exists here and the energy that comes from that,” said Colbert Puff at a public forum recently held at RiverRun Bookstore in downtown Portsmouth. “In looking at housing prices, you’ll find today, roughly 50 percent of people who own homes here would not be able to afford to buy a home in Portsmouth now.”
The Lot 5 building would feature a pharmacy and bank on the ground floor, with about 45 residences among the upper floors, including five units of workforce housing. City zoning has given Deer Street Associates the tools they need to make the project possible, mandating that at least 10% of the dwelling units (or at least two units) may be for rent. The Deer Street Associates development project has so far met the requirements of the City of Portsmouth Zoning Ordinance, and is enthusiastic to move forward with the project.
Some members of the Historic District Commission have questions about the height of the proposed building for Lot 5 of the project. In order for this work force housing housing project to be feasible, Deer Street asserts that the building needs to be five stories tall.
GLR Inc. Manager Kim Rogers serves as the Board President of the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast. The Deer Street Associates proposed development would be the first project in the city that would be developed utilizing the workforce housing incentive. Rogers is working to fill this void and is committed to continuing the project to completion.
A website for the project is underway to keep community members informed about the construction progress. According to Ania Rogers, Quality Director & Project Manager, “We are currently engaged in a branding process for this exciting project and look forward to sharing updates on our new website as they unfold. All of us are very mindful of the need for workforce housing in Portsmouth and we remain optimistic that the city will continue to work with us to make this happen.”
Deer Street Associates is a New Hampshire limited partnership that has owned property on Deer Street in Portsmouth since 1984. They hold and operate commercial property and provide a return to their partners from the operations of that real estate. Visit www.glrogers.com to learn more.