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Apartment complex proposed next to Bedford High School

BEDFORD — Preliminary plans to construct about 120 apartments next to Bedford High School are being proposed by two area businessmen.

“There is a huge demand for housing everywhere,” said Dick Anagnost, chairman of the Workforce Opportunity Council and president of Anagnost Investments Inc.

Anagnost, along with Bill Greiner, founder of Primary Bank, are hoping to build an apartment complex on Bow Lane, which is off Chestnut Drive near the high school complex.

“It is really early on. It is all a conceptual plan,” Anagnost said on Tuesday. He will approach the Planning Board next month to present the preliminary plans for the project.

Anagnost and Greiner are also working on a separate project with Great New Hampshire Restaurants to convert the former Shorty’s restaurant on Route 101 into a new restaurant concept with a family friendly menu.

The Shorty’s parcel is about 8 acres, and the adjacent Bow Lane parcel eyed for the housing development is about 6 acres, according to Anagnost, who said the properties could potentially be consolidated.

“This is the highest and best use with the least traffic impact to Route 101,” he said, adding Bedford does not have enough rental units or affordable housing.

At least 25 percent of the proposed 120 apartments would be workforce housing, similar to the Bedford Hills apartment units constructed previously by the same businessmen near The Copper Door restaurant.

“Because these units have rent ceiling set by (Housing and Urban Development) parameters, they are in huge demand because of their location being in Bedford and their rent rate currently under $1,000 a month for a two-bedroom unit versus $1,800 a month for a market rate unit in the same building,” Greiner wrote in a letter to Superintendent Chip McGee.

According to the letter, the duo has agreed to make every attempt to let school district employees, especially those who work at Bedford High School or the adjoining Ross A. Lurgio Middle School, aware of the available units and take applications from them as soon as feasible.

In order for the conceptual apartment complex and the former Shorty’s redevelopment project to come to fruition, Greiner said it is necessary to have public water and sewer, explaining the best access for this is to extend it from the high school campus.

“We would propose that we would pay all of the costs associated with extending water and sewer from the school site, and once that is agreed to I believe Pennichuck Water Works would take over the responsibility for water and piping and infrastructure which is on the school site, and that going forward all of that responsibility and liability would fall onto Pennichuck and not the district and taxpayers,” Greiner wrote.

The existing sewer system, pump station and infrastructure is owned by the school district, and Greiner is proposing that if the sewer is extended to the former Shorty’s and future Bow Lane apartments, the developers would pay all of that cost and contribute to the district’s sewer enterprise fund.

He believes the apartments would ultimately drive the demand for natural gas, which would result in Liberty Utilities running natural gas lines that could potentially enable the district to utilize natural gas at the high school campus and McKelvie Intermediate School.

The developers, as part of the conceptual project, would also construct sidewalks from the high school, down Chestnut Drive and to Route 101, states the letter.

If everything goes according to plan, Anagnost said the restaurant renovations would likely be completed first, and it would take about 18 months for the apartment complex to receive its approvals.

“This wouldn’t get finished for at least two years,” he said of the preliminary apartment plans that will be introduced to the planning board as a conceptual development on Aug. 27.

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