Franklin Street deal is great news

Someone out there can surely do it, but we’re having a hard time finding a downside to the news that one of New England’s premiere developers recently purchased the long-abandoned and too-long decrepit former mill building on Franklin Street in Nashua.

Earlier this month The Telegraph broke the news that Brady Sullivan Properties of Manchester paid $100,000 for the building at 34 Franklin St. that was once owned by the former Nashua Corp.

If that strikes you as an absurdly low selling price for a building of that size and location, less than a block from Nashua’s Main Street and overlooking the Nashua River, that’s because it is.

The price makes sense for a few reasons though, chiefly the $630,000 in back taxes dating back to 2008 that the new owners will have to fork over to the city.

There’s also the condition of the building, which has been vacant for several years and has been the target of vandals more than once.

Finally, there’s the fact that Franklin Street is small and although the building is big – 310,000 square feet over four floors – it has no associated parking. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. That poses a pretty big problem for a developer of any building, but likely an even bigger one for a company like Brady Sullivan since they specialize in converting former mill buildings into housing.

All that being said, the city should count its lucky stars that a company like Brady Sullivan has stepped to the plate.

For one thing, there aren’t an overabundance of companies with the resources to plop $100,000 on the table knowing the building they’re getting in return comes with a tax bill of well over half a million bucks. For a city like Nashua, that’s a little more than a drop in the bucket, not to mention the increase in the tax rolls the project will account for once the building is renovated.

That leaves the parking difficulties but we’re confident a plan will be worked out, especially since a nearby building at 12-14 Front St., is owned by Grace Fellowship Church of Nashua. Until recently it, too, was on the market and we suspect is still available for the right price.

The project also comes on the heels of the completion of the Apartments at Cotton Mill, a 109-unit project on Front Street that was full within five months of opening in April 2014.

If you needed another sign of what kind of impact the redevelopment of the building would have, consider Economic Development Director Thomas Galligani’s statements following the news.

"That’s a short-term benefit to the city. But the big picture is this will continue the really exciting work that is taking place in the Franklin Street mill district. We are all aware now of the success of the Apartments at Cotton Mill and this is potentially the next big step for revitalization," Galligani said.

For Galligani, that qualifies as nearly gushing.

Anyone who cares about Nashua – and especially its downtown – should feel the same.