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A Nashua rehab: New ideas for an old mill
A long-vacant Nashua mill building might be rehabilitated in the near future, and in an interesting way — through a combination of private investment and community outreach.
Rehab efforts for huge, century-old buildings like the Franklin Street Mill in Nashua often involve government purchases or subsidies. Those put taxpayers at risk by investing their money in speculative projects. In Nashua, investors and community activists are pointing to a new and better way.
The investors who own the building have hired Fulcrum Properties to turn the building into a marketable, profitable space once again. Fulcrum in turn has partnered with a group called Visualize Nashua, which brings local folks together to find creative ways to improve the city’s quality of life.
In March, a walking tour of the building attracted a stunning crowd of more than 150 people. That is a huge turnout for such an event, and it indicates that the public has a very keen interest in seeing the space revitalized.
By engaging the public to help brainstorm ideas, rather than simply turning to the city for a handout, Fulcrum is increasing the odds that the rehabilitation will succeed. It is protecting the owners’ investment in a smarter way.
That is a positive sign for the city. Everyone should keep an eye on this project. If it works, it could provide a model for future rehabilitation efforts everywhere.
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