Portsmouth NH Councilor Says Federal Government Likes McIntyre’s ‘Market Shed’ Design

PORTSMOUTH – Federal officials have given the city “the OK” to build on the post office wing of the Thomas J. McIntyre Federal Building as part of their property redevelopment plans, according to City Councilor Peter Whelan.

“They’ve been very receptive to it, they said, ‘We want to see more detailed drawings on it,” said Whelan, an outgoing city councilor who chairs the McIntyre subcommittee. He was referring to two versions of the city’s “market shed” design for the redevelopment project presented to the National Park Service on Monday.

The city has made an effort to acquire the property for free as part of the Historic Monuments Program, administered by the National Park Service.

The NPS must approve the final application that the city submits for the redevelopment project, including the financial plan and the profits the developer can make.

Following:‘Everything is on the table’ for the McIntyre development project in Portsmouth after the election

“The National Park Service has given us the green light to further develop these proposals, which is really positive for the city,” said Whelan.

The National Park Service had previously refused to allow the city’s development partners on the project, Redgate / Kane, to be built on the post office wing as part of their previously approved downtown site redevelopment plan. 2.2 acre town.

Following:“A step forward”: Portsmouth to take control of the McIntyre property and offer on-site parking

“It was a very, very positive meeting, a lot of dialogue and input from the National Park Service,” Whelan added at Monday’s city council meeting.

A new three-story addition is proposed at the McIntyre federal construction site in Portsmouth, north of the original four-story building and above the existing one-story old post office.

Redgate / Kane cancels city council meeting

City council was scheduled to hold a special meeting Thursday night with Michael Kane, chief executive and chairman of The Kane Company, but Kane regretted that the meeting was called off on Wednesday night.

Mayor Rick Becksted said Kane has requested to meet with city council and plans to bring an engineer to the meeting, which is scheduled to be held at 5:30 p.m. in the city council chamber.

Becksted stressed that he wanted the meeting to be held in public so that city residents could hear “for themselves” from city council and Kane.

“I don’t want to do this behind closed doors,” Becksted said Tuesday.

Reached Wednesday afternoon, Kane first said that city officials contacted him “and asked me to come and meet them.”

“I was told that we are meeting with both the current city council and the new city council and I thought we were going to discuss the people’s plan in quotes,” Kane said, referring to the recent election. The new municipal councilors will be sworn in in January.

Kane planned to be joined at the meeting on Thursday by one of his engineers and architects so they could speak to city council about the city’s new redevelopment plan.

Kane once said that the the city’s redevelopment plan is “unbuildable” and he rehearsed this Wednesday.

Later Wednesday evening, Kane said Redgate / Kane canceled Thursday’s meeting.

While waiting for the new municipal council

“Again that was a bait and a switch, they first told us it would be a meeting with the current board and the new board,” Kane said. “Then we found out today that it was just a meeting with the current board. “

“We have no reason to meet them, it’s over,” he added.

Regarding the next steps, Kane said, “We will wait and see what the new city council wants to do. We are optimistic and can’t wait to sit down with them.

Redgate / Kane recently decided to revive a lawsuit they’ve taken against the city.

The city’s partners in the public / private partnership made this decision shortly before the city’s municipal elections.

Becksted insisted on Thursday morning that tonight’s special council meeting would still take place, even though Kane said he and his team would not be attending.

“I still hope Michael will come,” he said.

The city received a letter from Kane on Nov. 10 asking to meet with the council, Becksted said.

“I fulfill the obligations he asked for,” added the mayor.

He noted that in the letter Kane sent to the city “there was nothing about the non-public meeting, nothing about the attendance of the newly elected council.”

“I granted his request,” Becksted said. “I’ll call on Michael Kane when I start the meeting, filling in what he asked for. “

“I will be very disappointed if Michael Kane does not show up,” he added.

If Kane doesn’t show up, Becksted said, it would make him wonder “if Michael should be the partner the city should work with if he wants to pull off this kind of shenanigans.”

The council did not publicly discuss next steps in the redevelopment process after Redgate / Kane relaunched the lawsuit.

When asked when this discussion would take place, Becksted said, “I think this is the most important discussion to have right now and we could very well have this discussion tonight.”

“We don’t have to worry about the threat of litigation, we are in litigation,” he added.

Residents rejected five incumbents to city council, including Becksted and Whelan.

Peter Whelan is Portsmouth City Councilor and Chairman of the McIntyre Federal Building Redevelopment Council subcommittee.

A previous city council voted to approve the Redgate / Kane redevelopment plan in 2019, which included renovating the existing McIntyre building for offices and adding two new mixed-use residential buildings to the site.

This city council rejected a proposed land lease with Redgate / Kane, which led the developers to file a lawsuit against the city in March 2020. Redgate / Kane suspended the lawsuit in April 2020, but they filed documents in October to relaunch it.

The city council voted in May to go ahead with the city’s new redevelopment design, called the market shed or pavilion approach, which was developed by Principle Group, the city’s consultants on the project, after a series of public consultation sessions.

After the Tuesday November 2 election, Kane said the election results made it more likely that the city and Redgate / Kane could restart the redevelopment process.

Kane said “everything is on the table at this point” when it comes to moving the redevelopment forward.

“The new city council, which promises to be a more thoughtful, civil and professional council, can only bode well for the McIntyre project,” Kane said in an interview Thursday, November 4, two days after the election.

Attempts to reach the head of the National Park Service with which the city worked on the project were unsuccessful.

Whelan said in Monday’s meeting that he wanted to “assure the residents of Portsmouth that your community plan you’ve worked so hard on with the concept of the shed behind the McIntyre building is one that the National Park Service will likely end up approving. , with the addition over the post office. “

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