Historic Building Renovation Anchors Center's Lancaster Investment
In 2018, the Northern Forest Center purchased the Parker J Noyes building because of its potential to contribute to Lancaster’s downtown vitality. The building transformation will create safe, comfortable downtown living spaces for residents, add new commercial space where small businesses can thrive, and create palpable excitement on Lancaster’s vibrant Main Street. Redevelopment will include:
Local Food — Expansion of the Root Seller Marketplace will provide access to 50+ area producers and increased space for programming.
Downtown Living — Six 2-bedroom apartments on the second and third floors will serve a community need for quality, market-rate housing.
Community Investment —This highly visible and impactful project is of, by and for the community; residents contributed financially to crowd-sourced fundraising campaign and many investors and donors have personal connections to Lancaster.
Historic preservation —The building is listed on the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places; restoration will follow the US Secretary of Interior Standards for Rehabilitation to restore its historic integrity.
Renewable Energy — With the goal of reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, the Center has committed to overall building energy efficiency and considering options for incorporating solar panels.
Local Contractors — Garland Mill Timber Frame of Lancaster has been hired as Construction Manager, which will help keep project wages in the community. Read the latest update on construction progress.
The renovated first floor will provide a new home for Lancaster's Root Seller Marketplace, a market that provides access to healthy local foods for the greater community. "We're so excited to expand to a larger space on Main Street, allowing us to increase our offerings of both retail products and products from local farmers, food producers, and crafters,” said Melissa Grella, executive director of Taproot Farm & Environmental Education Center, the nonprofit organization that operates the Root Seller Marketplace.
By moving just down Main Street to the larger space, the Root Seller Marketplace will be able to build a commercial kitchen and continue to expand in the future.
The upper floors will be remodeled to create six downtown apartments that should be attractive to professionals and young families. These apartments will help position Lancaster as a hub for growth in the North Country, as a place that will attract and retain the next generation of families and leaders committed to creating a vibrant future for the town. Read about the Center's other community revitalization work in Lancaster.
Renovation of the building has already begun with the removal of environmental contamination and building debris and the installation of a new roof. Full renovations will begin in January 2020.
The Noyes building was home to the Parker J. Noyes Company, named for the Lancaster pharmacist and inventor who invented the sugar-coated pill, and whose company developed the first precision food pellet for laboratory animal use.
"Thanks to Noyes, by the turn of the twentieth century, Lancaster was an epicenter of pharmaceutical manufacturing, allowing the company to expand and invest in its research, advertising, and Main Street presence," said the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance when it put the Noyes building on its “Seven to Save” list in 2017 due to the building’s historical significance.
“Saving old historic buildings like the Parker J. Noyes Building is tough work and will have its unique challenges,” said Lancaster businessman Greg Cloutier, a partner in the project. “It requires a community and people willing to work together to bring life back to this stately building.”
The project has attracted statewide support, as well as strong local support through two crowdfunding campaigns. Donors of cash or in-kind contributions to date include: Britton Lumber; Coos Economic Development Corporation; Cloutier Lancaster Redevelopment, LLC; Downs Rachlin Martin, PLLC; Geo M Stevens & Son Co.; HEB Engineers; Horizon Engineering; Madelaine G. von Weber Trust; Mascoma Bank Foundation; Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the NH Charitable Foundation; NH Community Development Finance Authority; NH Division of Historical Resources; NH Land and Community Heritage Investment Program; NH Preservation Alliance, through the Northern Border Regional Commission’s NHEP grant; Mascoma Bank Foundation; Northeast Heritage Economy Program; Northern Border Regional Commission; Northern Forest Center Lancaster Advisory Group; Peter Powell Real Estate; Eversource Energy; Taproot Farm & Environmental Education Center; Town of Lancaster; Trividia Manufacturing Solutions; Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund; and You Have Our Trust Fund.
Leveraging Donations and Investments
The Center has secured significant financing for this $2.9-million project, including a mix of tax credits, public and foundation grants, charitable gifts and impact investments. Based on funds raised to date, $100,000 or 3 percent of the funding is from federal sources; $2.8 million or 97 percent is expected to come from non-federal sources.
“Our donors and investors want their money to leverage new energy and vibrancy in Lancaster’s downtown,” said Rob Riley, president of the Center. “We’ve seen how quality redevelopment of important buildings can help communities turn a corner and how one project quickly leads to other enhancements.”