Article Originally Published and Sourced from Seacoast Online
PORTSMOUTH — Prominent developer Eric Chinburg is redeveloping a portion of the former Frank Jones Brewery as part of a mixed-use development that will include workforce housing.
Chinburg, president of Chinburg Properties, confirmed Tuesday that he is buying the remaining two undeveloped buildings on the property from developer King Weinstein. The buildings were once part of the Schultz hot dog factory as well.
Chinburg Properties has previously developed the Cocheco Mills in Dover, the Newmarket Mills and the Briggs Mill in Amesbury, Mass., and Chinburg said that experience will serve his team well in Portsmouth.
“We love the mills and we love Portsmouth and we want to create great housing that’s more affordable,” he said.
The roughly 50 to 65 apartments that will be built at the former brewery – along with a mix of commercial and office uses – will be market priced but smaller than most on the market, he said.
We’re aiming for smaller, more affordable apartments and we’re hoping to have (market rents),” Chinburg said.
“They’ll be smaller and therefore less expensive.”
The company is aiming to create apartments that average about 690 square feet, he said, but added there will also be smaller studios in the range of 450 to 555 square feet.
“They won’t be micro-apartment like Boston’s micro-apartments,” Chinburg said. “They’ll be small studios that are reachable in price.”
City Planner Rick Taintor said the project was approved in the 1990s and is still vested.
Two of the former brewery buildings have already been redeveloped, and Chinburg will redevelop the remaining two.
“We’re utilizing pre-existing vested approvals,” Taintor said Tuesday, and noted Chinburg will not have to go before any of the city’s land-use boards to move forward on the project.
Chinburg is planning to file some “minor” site plan amendments, but he can do that through Taintor, the city’s planning director said.
“It would be nice to have the buildings redeveloped,” Taintor said. “They’ve been sitting empty and deteriorating for so long.”
The commercial part of the redevelopment could include anything from an “innovation office suite company” to a restaurant, Chinburg said.
Design work on the project is still ongoing, Chinburg said, but he hopes to begin work as soon as this winter.
City Manager John Bohenko laughed when told about comments he made at a 2005 Economic Development Commission meeting, saying Weinstein would be meeting with officials soon to redevelop the site.
“It’s something we’ve been looking at for 10 years and we’re very pleased that Eric Chinburg is taking on the project,” Bohenko said Tuesday. “I think it’s going to be a good start to the Islington Street redevelopment.”
Bohenko called Chinburg’s participation in the redevelopment “crucial given the type of building it is and some of its uniqueness.”
He praised the quality of Chinburg’s previous work redeveloping mills and likes the idea of workforce rental units.
“I think it’s a good concept to start things off there,” Bohenko said. “That whole area is going to be having resurgence.”
He noted the Islington Street area is “close to downtown” and city officials are working on projects to make it more pedestrian and bike friendly.
Source: Seacoast Online