The paper and others make much of the argument that nothing more can be done with Brewster Hall without evacuating the place. At least two Selectmen seem to feel otherwise.
Lets look at the situation. The offices are currently housed in the four original commercial suites of the first floor. By design, they are separated from each other by solid masonry bearing walls from floor to ceiling. Those suites could easily be completely remodeled one by one by simply sealing off the doorways to the adjoining suites. There’s empty office space down the street in the Bell building where the various departments could camp out for a couple of months while their suite is remodeled.
Commercial build-out is an established, efficient and competitive industry. You’ll recall that a couple of years ago they shut down Garwoods for exactly one month, and produced what you see there today. The job involved raising the floor, new ADA bathrooms, new windows including the storefront, wiring upgrade, HVAC upgrade, and a handicap chair lift. Sound familiar? That’s just about everything they want to do to the office suites in Brewster Hall. Garwoods is about the size and shape of one of those Brewster Hall office suites.
Even at a first class $200/sq ft, about what a brand new building would cost, renovating our 6,000 sq ft of offices would cost $1.2 million. Over four years, one suite per year, that would be $300,000/year. That’s about what the first four years of this 20 year $3.2 million bond would cost at 4.5%. Then we’re done. No need to pay out another $3.5 million in principal and interest bond payments for sixteen more years.
If those spaces were occupied by various businesses as they were in the past, do you think it would be reasonable to ask all of them to move out for a year while one of the suites was refit for a new tenant? There’s no need to move out to rehab those offices and there’s no need to spend $4 million dollars to get comfortable and efficient town offices.
Last week Mr. Tougher asked how it could be done without moving out. I think this is a reasonable approach. But then, those are my own private facts.
Bob is exactly right. As the owner of several multi-tenant commercial buildings in NH this is precisely what happens when one tenant moves out and the new tenant wants major changes to the suite, The typical suite size is between 1000 to 4000 sq. ft. This also permits me (as landlord) to make upgrades to wiring, lighting and ceiling tiles at the same time. Sometimes I add insulation where needed also. Then interior walls are moved, new doors hung, walls sheet-rocked, painted with new rugs installed, all to the new tenants specification. In ALL cases the other tenants in the building continue on with their normal daily business activities with out any impact.
I’m getting too old for the continued battles on this issue and was frankly content to support the incremental investment for the past few years in this building. But the renewed push for the BIG ONE just makes me sad that a few people can get away with such poor thinking.
There are just so many other issues facing our Town where this amount of money could be better applied.
I hope that Bob’s facts get out to the public. However, with control of the media in the hands of the Friends, that will be difficult. This reminds me of a Mr. Goring who said if you tell the lie enough times, the people will believe it.
And of course, lets not forget that the exterior brick work and gable end dormer could easily be done
with a Warrant Article for this alone..per the 2011 Friends NE Collaborative figuers..they projected
$296,100 to totaly do exterior Masonry. Do a short term bond or pay an add aprox 16 cents to the
tax rate…but continue to phase.