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SNHU announces $100m deal to build garage, expand in Millyard

New Hampshire Union Leader

November 20. 2017 10:07AM
A SNHU bus turns around near Langer Place Mill (at left) iin Manchester on Monday. The university in building a parking garage next to the mill. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — Southern New Hampshire University says it has inked a $100 million deal that includes building a parking garage in the Millyard and expanding its presence to add 500 more jobs.

SNHU will lease space in the Langer Place Mill on South Commercial Street and lease all 1,700 spots in a six-story parking garage to be built between the mill building and Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, where the Fisher Cats baseball team plays, according to a developer.

"SNHU is committed to the city of Manchester and keeping jobs in New Hampshire," said SNHU President Paul LeBlanc. "Parking in the mill complex has been a long-standing problem, so we are excited to embark on this partnership and provide a parking solution for our employees and the city."

The university also signed a 22-year rental agreement for 33. S. Commercial St., which, in September, housed 1,300 employees in SNHU's College of Online and Continuing Education.

A university statement issued Monday said it would add 500 more jobs to the Millyard, but didn't provide a timetable or say whether those jobs were new or transferred from elsewhere.

LeBlanc tweeted he had signed a $100 million deal, referencing the garage and larger Millyard presence.

Peter Flotz, the same developer planning to build a parking garage and hotel elsewhere in the Millyard, said he has a contract to purchase the four-story Langer Place Mill, 55 S. Commercial St., and the adjoining parking lot, where the garage will be built.

Flotz, managing member of the Lansing Melbourne Group, said he hopes the real estate deal will close in mid-December.

The garage's pricetag will run somewhere around $50 million for construction, design and other costs, he said. "We hope to break ground in April and we hope to have the garage open by Oct. 1 of 2019."

The garage facade facing South Commercial Street and the stadium will look like a mill building, he said.

"SNHU will be making a substantial investment in the (Langer) building," Flotz said. "We're leasing them the building as it is today and they're making a bunch of improvements in it."

The improvements, including upgrading the climate control, will take an estimated four years, he said.

"It's certainly a great project for the city," said Mayor Ted Gatsas. "It frees up another 1,700 parking spaces in the Millyard and for all the expansion that's going to happen with ARMI (the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute), it's a great thing."

Flotz declined to give the purchase price for the property, which the city says is assessed at more than $6 million. The garage already received planning board approval.

The New Hampshire Union Leader reported in September that SNHU was looking for more parking and was considering building a parking garage at its eventual location.

Jan Langer from Langer Place Mill, who was not available for comment Monday afternoon, said in September that "SNHU's looking and we're listening."

Flotz said he also will build a concrete wall of two to three feet near the river to shore up the property against flooding.

In the other Millyard project, Flotz said he plans to break ground in May on a 254 parking-spot garage and a hotel with 106 rooms at North Commercial and Spring streets. He hopes that will open in spring 2020.

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