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Pennichuck relocating to Nashua

NASHUA — “It is definitive – we are moving downtown,” Pennichuck Corp. CEO Larry Goodhue told The Telegraph on Friday.

The water utility will be bringing up to 70 employees to the heart of downtown, as Pennichuck plans to relocate to the vacant former Nashua District Courthouse at the Walnut Street oval by the end of 2020.

Goodhue said site should look much different 12 months from now.

The opportunity to move the Pennichuck headquarters back to Nashua from the Merrimack location is something officials have been working on for a while because of various factors. Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess said he was been working toward this move for years. Pennichuck has a lease that has an expiration date on it, but also an early termination option, which Goodhue said the company decided to exercise.

Goodhue said he was able to give notice to the current landlord of the Merrimack facility on Monday. Additionally, he said he signed the lease for the new location at the beginning of the week, as well.

Goodhue said corporation officials spent the better part of two years considering options in Nashua.

“It has been a goal of mine to bring Pennichuck’s headquarters back to downtown Nashua, and as a result of the cooperation with a lot of people, we’ve been able to do that,” Donchess said. “This will helps us build a stronger downtown business climate, and occupy the courthouse, which has been vacant for a long time.”

It should be noted that Pennichuck’s website states: “Pennichuck is a closely-held corporation with a sole shareholder, the city of Nashua.”

Goodhue said the construction on this project will continue through the winter. Extensive renovations are proposed for both the inside and the outside of the structure. Plans also include constructing an addition onto the building. In the end, the new headquarters will turn the rectangular building into a “L” shaped structure.

“The site, basically, as it stands, does not meet the needs,” Goodhue said. “So, part of this is redeveloping the current structure, but also building a significant addition,” Goodhue said.

The plan is to have the site ready by the end of October 2020 – and for the company to transition southward in November of December of next year. The construction will keep the building at a uniform height, but will be adding additional square footage for overall operations.

“Basically, it’s an addition that has a ground floor, covered parking structure with offices over it that is attached to the existing building,” Goodhue said.

Goodhue said this is an opportunity to get a space for the next 15-30 years to meet their business needs now and in that time frame, in addition to helping with long-term economic viability.

Donchess said those 70 employees coming downtown on a daily basis will be providing customers for restaurants, shops, parking lots and other downtown businesses.

Pennichuck once called Nashua home for many decades. More than a century ago, a group of descendants of the Pilgrim Fathers among other early settlers came together to form a water company that serviced the towns of Nashville and Nashua.

The original name of the company was Nashville Aqueduct in 1852, before it was changed in 1853 and incorporated as the Pennichuck Water Works when the two towns united under the name, city of Nashua. The company’s old office building was located at 11 High St.

Donchess said the company also moved to a Water Street location for a short time. More recently, their headquarters has been housed in Merrimack, but that will soon change when they move to their traditional home in the heart of Nashua some time next year.

Furthermore, Donchess is thankful to Pennichuck for taking a close look at this, and also thanked the city’s Economic Development Department. He also thanked the property owner, Rob Parsons with Walnut Nashua LLC.

Goodhue said NorthPoint Construction Management in Hudson will be the contractor.

“This has been a long-time coming and a project my office has worked on for a couple of years,” Nashua Director of Economic Development Tim Cummings added. “It is great to see it finally come to fruition. Filling a completely 100% unoccupied building and bringing 70-ish high-quality jobs to the downtown are two major victories. Needless to state, the economics along with other variables all needed to align. I am glad they did.”

Adam Urquhart may be contacted at 594-1206, or at aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.