TFMoran principal Corey Colwell participated in New England Real Estate Journal‘s New Hampshire Seacoast Commercial Real Estate Growth Summit on August 17. Attendees enjoyed a breakfast buffet and networking before a panel discussion about the tremendous growth along the NH coastline. Corey sat on a panel to discuss new industrial, office, retail, and multifamily projects that have been skyrocketing within the past 5 years, with no signs of slowing down. TFMoran also sponsored the event.
The July issue of New Hampshire Business Review features The Factory on Willow in a special section “From the Ground Up”. TFMoran is proud to be a part of the project team with Eckman Construction and Market Square Architects. We invite you to check out the article by clicking this link or by reading the text below.
Congratulations to the Factory on Willow and the whole project team!
FROM THE GROUND UP: The Factory on Willow: ‘If you restore it, they will come’
Remember the movie, “Field of Dreams” with Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones? An Iowa farmer is summoned by voices from the Great Beyond to build a baseball stadium in his corn field. One of the most iconic lines that is now part of our popular culture is “If you build it, they will come.”
In the case of The Factory on Willow, the saying would be, “If you restore it, they will come” and inspire other investors to do the same with other properties in Manchester’s South End.
When Elizabeth “Liz” Hitchcock decided to purchase the former Cohas Shoe Factory on 252 Willow St. in 2019, she formulated a concept they knew would yield great dividends. Her plan was to restore the 90,000-square-foot factory into a mixed-use development where artists and gig professionals could live, work and enjoy everything that downtown Manchester has to offer while preserving the rich history of the mill that was constructed in 1904.
Preston Hunter, vice president of Eckman Construction Co. in Bedford and the project’s general contractor, explained the end result is a four-story complex that includes 61 studio apartments, commercial space, a food truck court and 16 Airbnb units to accommodate nurses and visiting high-tech workers. The Artist in Residence program also enables artists of all types to live and complete special projects at The Factory on Willow.
Hunter said the space also includes commercial uses that may eventually include a craft distillery, beer garden and office space. Loon Chocolate and 603 Charcuterie have already established thriving retail businesses there, and a large event space is available for rental.
“There are a lot of opportunities for different uses,” Hunter said.
In addition to the food truck patio, Hunter said an amphitheater is planned where live performances will be staged.
“We are in the process of creating a distillery on-site,” said Hunter, adding that it would consist of a free-standing building that would include a tasting room.
“We did create, in addition to the food truck patio, an area for residents who would like to have raised beds and grow some vegetable gardens and other plantings.”
Besides the amphitheater and additional landscaping that will take place throughout The Factory on Willow’s property, Hitchcock recently said she is banking on two transportation projects to spur growth in the South End and fuel greater success for The Factory on Willow. The first includes a $25 million federal RAISE grant that will be used to create a new roadway with a bridge and pedestrian bike access near the intersection of South Willow St. and Queen City Ave. along with a pedestrian bridge over Granite Street. The second is the completion of the South Manchester Rail Trail that runs directly behind The Factory on Willow. The rail trail is part of a much larger network that will eventually run from Goffstown to the Seacoast. When completed, both projects will offer improved access to the South End.
Hunter said that Hitchcock’s vision was to create a living space where art would be promoted and celebrated as well as integrated into the surrounding community.
Hitchcock also selected items to be featured in the building to display its rich history, including the original wood and glass doors, cast iron boiler arch doors and a wooden beam that has been repurposed into a bench in the lobby.
Adam Wagner, owner of Market Square Architects in Portsmouth, played an instrumental role to help Hitchcock transform her vision into a dynamic design that incorporates the mill’s rustic red brick walls and timber frames in the building’s open-air studio apartments. Orbit Group with visiting designers created the furnished Airbnb units so they will appeal to the targeted demographic of artists and gig economy workers.
“What’s unique about this project is residents are looking for more than just cookie-cutter apartments. They want to be part of a community,” Hunter said. “It is set up to be a real live-work studio experience.”
By combining a millennial-style, live-work experience and the history of the former McElwain Shoe Factory, Hunter believes that Hitchcock succeeded with all of her goals.
Hunter’s family also has a direct link to the mill’s storied past.
“My mother-in-law worked in the shoe factory when she was a teenager,” he said.
The two-year project that began in 2019 was completed in March 2021 when the first residents moved into the building, Hunter said.
All of this was happening during the Covid-19 pandemic. “We were able to keep the job site running throughout the pandemic,” Hunter explained.
Hunter pointed out the process to transform the once abandoned factory into its current use was a challenging one. “It is important to remember that this building was a collection of additions that had been tacked on to the original mill building over the decades as the use had changed and it presented a lot of complications and challenges from a design standpoint,” he said.
They partnered with Market Square Architects to deal with those challenges. TFMoran, the structural engineer out of Bedford, played a key role in helping them evaluate the structure of the building and the additions, Hunter said.
“We determined as a team that some of the newer additions were functionally obsolete. We ended up demolishing some portions of the building that were not part of the original mill building that was bult in 1904,” Hunter said.
“We brought the building back to its original form. That allowed us to keep what was best about the building and remove the portions that didn’t add any value. We also exposed portions of the building that hadn’t seen the light of day for a very long time,” Hunter explained.
He noted the project included a lot of masonry restoration. He said there is a tower that was part of the original mill complex that was restored. There was also a great deal of masonry undertaken on the outside and inside of the building.
He said the building also had a timber frame that was showing its age. “The structural engineer evaluated every beam and every column after we had opened and exposed everything to identify the ones that needed to be re-supported.”
Like many mill restoration projects, this one also required its share of environmental remediation.
“The building also did contain some asbestos and lead paint, which had been sort of buried under multiple layers of flooring. We had to remove all of the hazardous materials and everything was disposed of to create a clean environment, so we could start essentially with a clean slate,” Hunter said.
Hunter said the site was also home to a former underground oil storage tank that had failed 50 years ago. The tank had leaked its heating oil, and it was a managed site by the state Department of Environmental Protection. In most cases, developers might leave it alone and pave over it. But Hitchcock decided it was best to remove the contaminated soil and clean up the site with fresh soil. The building and site were then completely cleaned out and restored to their original state.
“The team really put the time and the effort in to understand the unique quirks of the building as much as possible before we started construction. The building really has great bones, and the design goal was to really showcase the existing qualities as much as possible,” Hunter said.
Some of the other improvements included two new stairwells to meet new egress requirements for the apartments on both ends of the building floor to floor. The building was also designed to provide fresh air to every apartment and common space in the building. New windows were installed throughout the building with beautiful black frames that are historically accurate and provide great natural light throughout.
“It is also an investment in the southern part of the city. There has been a lot of redevelopment in the Millyard, the North End and downtown. This project is the first to recognize there is great opportunity in the South End of Manchester. It has created a bit of a destination onto itself by having all those amenities. It will also create an opportunity for development in this part of the city as the need for housing continues to grow,” Hunter said.
The team’s collective efforts to create a new crown jewel in Manchester has also gained recognition from Plan NH, which awarded the project a merit award in June.
New England Real Estate Journal’s May 27th issue features an Industry Leaders Spotlight with 11 professionals from numerous industries, including TFMoran’s Chief Operating Officer, Dylan Cruess. Dylan gives his perspective on how the first half of 2022 is going in the engineering field. Check out the full article here or continue reading below.
Despite Economic Challenges, Development Remains Resilient
New England Real Estate Journal
Industry Leaders Spotlight – Engineer
This has been quite a year thus far! I started my article off last year with the exact same sentiment. Many of the same growth factors and uncertainties from last year are still present now. Despite many economic challenges we are experiencing, including the continued rise of construction costs, the availability of building materials, and now rising interest rates, development in Southern New Hampshire and Northern Massachusetts remains incredibly strong and resilient. The pent-up demand from not building during the height of the pandemic, changing consumer demand for housing and entertainment, and the large amount of private and public capital available in the market has fueled new developments in just about every sector.
Over the past few years, New Hampshire has seen a huge in-migration of the population as people have moved out of major cities seeking a more rural or suburban lifestyle. This in-migration population has caused the demand for housing and other services to increase, which in turn has led to a huge increase in new multifamily and single-family housing developments throughout the southern part of the state and the upper valley. Northern New Hampshire has also seen an incredible increase in demand as people are purchasing second homes. Along with increased housing demand, we are seeing rapidly rising housing and rent prices which are leading to an affordability crisis for many people. In New Hampshire, there is a very strong push for affordable housing projects and there are many available sources of public funding to help with the economic viability of having below-market rental rates.
Another sector that we continue to see very strong demand for in New Hampshire is warehouse and manufacturing projects. International supply chain problems have led to a noticeable trend of companies bringing their distribution, product storage, and even their manufacturing back to the United States, and more specifically New Hampshire. We are seeing new facilities being proposed across many different sectors including aerospace, defense, construction materials, and food processing, among others. Warehouse and manufacturing projects often require infrastructure improvements such as increased electric capacity or the availability of municipal water and sewer. These requirements may limit where facilities can be located, resulting in projects concentrated around the suburbs close to larger municipalities that already have the necessary infrastructure in place.
From a design and permitting point of view, one of the largest challenges we are seeing to development projects moving forward is the unpredictable length of time it will take to obtain all the necessary permits. We are often asked by our clients how long it will take to go through the permitting process so they can set timeframes in their Purchase and Sale Agreements or plan for construction. With new environmental regulations for wetlands impacts and stormwater runoff requirements, we are often unable to give a definitive timeline for permits. We have been recommending to our clients that they substantially increase the time for permitting or have multiple extension provisions in their contracts with Sellers to mitigate the impact of permitting delays.
In conclusion, even with the many economic uncertainties the economy is facing including inflation, rising interest rates, and supply chain disruptions for construction materials, we continue to see very strong activity for development projects going forward across many different sectors of the economy. The demand for new housing, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and other projects continues to be greater than the uncertainties and challenges that developers are facing when considering new projects. Hopefully, this trend continues through all of 2022 and beyond!
High Profile‘s May issue covers Landscape Architecture and Civil Engineering and Technology and Innovation. Sophie Haddock, Assistant Land Planner and Landscape Designer at TFMoran gave her perspective on the evolution of visuals we provide to our clients.
Read the article below, or see the full issue here.
Also in this issue, TFM Staff News! Robin Carter and Matthew Bean have joined our team in the Bedford Office.
Evolving Towards Seamless Visuals in the Digital Age
As our world modernizes and design programs advance, we see a trend in clients looking for visuals that utilize the latest technology to provide accurate and lifelike models. While still worthwhile, hand drawings pose a challenge when design modifications are needed. Computer programs provide the flexibility for the designer to make revisions seamlessly. This efficiency is valuable to both the client and the designer.
Most high-quality rendering programs available today work hand in hand with AutoCAD to bring realistic context to designs. AutoCAD provides the base map, so that every plant, swale, and light pole can be placed exactly where it is intended. Using a program such as “SketchUp”, buildings or other architectural elements can be created or imported. To add fine detail, a high-quality rendering program such as Lumion can be used for realistic detail as well as other life elements, such as weather, people, and animations.
Using today’s rendering software allows engineers and landscape architects to provide remarkably lifelike and accurate representations of the environment they are creating. The use of a consistent scale allows clients to see what their building will look like from various perspectives, and how effective their screening will be. Programs like these also provide an opportunity to design backward: the sizes, colors, and textures of plants are visually displayed, allowing the designer to see the full picture and find ideal positions before reflecting back onto a 2-dimensional landscape plan. As technology advances, we continue to evolve and provide exceptional visuals for our clients. These technologies enable designers to be their most creative and clients to understand concepts in a remarkably lifelike form.
Sophie Haddock is a landscape designer and assistant land planner at TFMoran, inc.
TFMoran’s own Maureen Kelly, EIT, Civil Project Engineer in our Bedford office has a featured profile in High Profile’s Women in Construction special issue. Ms. Kelly holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where she participated in several student scholarships and service-learning opportunities. In her professional role, Maureen enjoys projects that incorporate environmental benefits and equitable design. Maureen works in site design, all levels of permitting, utility layout, and stormwater infrastructure.
Congratulations, Maureen! And happy WIC Week!
New England Real Estate Journal’s January 29th issue features a Forecast Spotlight with 17 professionals from numerous industries, including TFMoran President, Robert Duval. Bob gives his perspective on how the construction industry has been reinventing itself over the past few decades.
More and more, the construction industry needs people with training in digital controls and software engineering that was once exclusive to the electronics industry. These new design and construction jobs demand more skill and training than ever. Trade schools and community colleges across the country need to recognize this education gap and offer more relevance in their training programs so that young people get the training they need to become a productive part of the construction industry. When they see that construction careers can be as creative and rewarding as any other industry, we will start to see some progress in the skilled labor market.Robert Duval
To read Bob’s full forecast spotlight article, click this pdf link or continue reading below.
2022 Forecast Spotlight
The construction industry has quietly been reinventing itself over the past few decades
Labor shortages, rising prices, and regulatory delays. No sector of the economy seems to be immune to these problems, although the construction sector seems to be among the hardest hit. “When will things return to normal” is no longer the question – the new normal is all around us. Although these problems may have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, they began long before January 2020.
Many of us in the construction industry have been concerned for years about the shortage of young people choosing careers in the design professions and construction trades. In part, this is because young people have been turning away from careers in the construction industry, which many see as less glamourous and less rewarding than careers in the medical and high-tech industries.
However, the construction industry has been quietly reinventing itself over the past few decades, moving away from hand tools to automation and prefabrication. Today, blueprints are replaced by virtual 3D models. These digital models are fed into automated fabrication shops that measure, cut and assemble parts that may never be touched by human hands until they reach the job site. And at the jobsite, buildings can now be erected by giant “3D printers” as the technological challenges are solved one by one. Even the bulldozers almost run themselves as they move tons of earth across a site with on-board computers that make adjustments automatically to the contours dictated by a 3D site model.
More and more, the construction industry needs people with training in digital controls and software engineering that was once exclusive to the electronic industry. These new design and construction jobs demand more skill and training than ever. Trade schools and community colleges across the country need to recognize this education gap and offer more relevance in their training programs so that young people get the training they need to become a productive part of the construction industry. When they see that construction careers can be as creating and rewarding as any other industry, we will start to see some progress in the skilled labor market.
We have all seen regulatory delays increasing for many years now due to the expanding scope and complexity of environmental regulation. Driving the many new and expanded rules are heightened concerns over threatened species, plants as well as animals, even in densely developed areas. Concerns over migratory birds, for example, attach to extremely wide regions. These considerations can affect timeframes for certain activities, require protective radii around certain habitats, and impose other significant restrictions.
There is also a new emphasis on historic structures, potentially including any structure over fifty years old, and potential archeological sites, now considered almost any site near a waterbody or other landscape that may have attracted early settlements. Much attention has been paid recently to “emerging contaminants”. This includes traces of chemicals at levels that would have been undetectable even a few years ago, but are now established as regulatory limits.
These and other similar concerns are being raised at a pace that outstrips the ability of the administrative rule process to keep up. The result has been an increasing subjectivity, lack of clarity, and a dramatic stretching-out of the review process in the last few years.
So how do we manage project delivery times and costs in the face of these challenges? It beings with the understanding that projects cannot be addressed the same old way. It takes a team of experts who know their way through the regulatory jungle; who understand the high-tech nature of today’s construction. Above all, it takes careful preparation, flexible scheduling, and the ability to react quickly and effectively to this changing world.
Robert Duval, PE, LEED AP, is president/chief engineer of TFMoran, Bedford and Portsmouth, NH.
TFMoran is honored to be voted as 2022 Best of Business in the Engineering category by New Hampshire Business Review readers. 2022 marks the TENTH consecutive year TFMoran has received this award. The BOB Awards honors the “Best Of Business” in New Hampshire in over 90 business-to-business categories. According to NHBR’s website, more than 4,000 people cast their votes in the BOB Awards survey. A Big THANK YOU to all who voted for us!
NH Business Review will hold its 15th Annual BOB Awards celebration on Thursday, March 10th, at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord. This year’s theme is “Masquerade Ball” with costumes encouraged. Celebrate the best businesses in the state and network with business leaders from across New Hampshire in a fun and festive party atmosphere. There will also be a chance to win prizes and help raise money for Girls Inc. of New Hampshire. Don’t miss out, register early and get your tickets online at NHBR.com
“It is a great honor that we have now won for the past ten years in a row! I believe this remarkable degree of community recognition is a reflection of our core values: focusing on client service, and delivering the right engineering solution for every project”.~ Robert Duval, president of TFMoran
Thank you to New Hampshire Business Review for this opportunity and for showcasing the Best of Business across New Hampshire.
The ongoing project of Market & Main has been featured on the front page of the Bedford Bulletin’s January issue. TFMoran has been working with client Encore Enterprises on this project, providing Civil, Structural, and Traffic Engineering, Permitting, Landscape Architecture, and Land Surveying Services for the long-awaited development.
The plans previously included a 1,200 seat Regal Cinema, as well as a five-level parking garage. The development is now moving forward after the Bedford Planning Board signed off on the scaled-back design. Follow this link to see the full article, or continue reading below.
Market & Main OK’d with shops, hotel; cinema off plan
The Market and Main development in Bedford is strictly commercial again, with plans for shops, restaurants, offices, and a hotel.
The project, which now includes Trader Joe’s and the Friendly Toast as well as Carrabba’s Italian Grill that pre-dates the development, has been stalled for the past year since the $120 million plan to include up to 200 apartments was rejected by town planners in September 2020.
The Bedford Planning Board signed off on a scaled-back design for the long-awaited project at the site of a former Macy’s off South River Road at its Nov. 22 meeting.
The previously proposed 1,200 seat Regal Cinema and a five-level parking garage are no longer part of the plan.
Most tenants have waited for the project to be approved before signing leases, according to Mike Nelson, president of commercial for developer Encore Enterprises of Plano, Texas.
“We have some existing tenants that have been very gracious and hung in there a long time, but we are kind of down to the wire,” Nelson told the Planning Board.
The new plans include more outdoor gathering spaces, pedestrian boulevards, and outdoor seating spaces for restaurants. A barn-like structure will double as a sign visible from Interstate 293 and be able to host outdoor events complete with a firepit.
Mike Skelton, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Manchester Chamber, called Market and Main at the intersection of the Everett Turnpike and Route 101 one of the most desirable parcels for development in Southern New Hampshire.
“It is a highly visible, perfect location for a marquee retail development,” he said. “I think there has been a trend in recent years of these lifestyle shopping centers, which are mixed-use,” Skelton said. “There is retail, dining options, experiential things.
There are services, whether a salon or gym, so that consumers can do multiple things in one area. It is more efficient. It is more convenient.”
The original Market and Main proposal included 98,763 square feet of retail and a movie theater.
Encore later tried to add the 200 apartments as part of a revised second phase, saying the project would not be financially feasible without the residential component.
The plans brought ire from the beginning with some town officials calling it a bait-and-switch.
The new Market and Main plans include a 30,000-square-foot office building and a 125-room hotel in future phases.
REI Co-op, an outdoor equipment store, will likely become one of the development’s anchor stores, a detail that slipped out during discussions with the Planning Board. The artist’s rendering lists the store as “Mtn House” and was described as a “national outdoor retailer.”
The square footage is comparable to other REI stores, including the open that opened in North Conway in September 2019. REI had previously announced plans to open a store in the development, but put the plans on hold in 2019.
Encore hopes to have construction complete on a building for the anchor tenant by the end of next year, with an anticipated opening by April 2023.
“It seems like a lot of time, but that is not a lot of time, considering how long it takes to get everything done,” Nelson told the Planning Board.
The building will feature solar panels and skylight harvesting.
“It is about as green as you can get,” Nelson said.
In all, the new plan includes three multi-tenant buildings and two other buildings for shops or restaurants for a total of 69,141 square feet of restaurant space (10,050 square feet that already exists).
The original office building was supposed to be 98,550 square feet, but it scaled back to 30,000 square feet.
Nelson said the company planned to attend the Innovating Commerce Serving Communities conference in Las Vegas in hopes of luring national tenants to market and Main.
The project approval in November likely helped with the prospects.
Ted Chryssicas of Newmark Group had been working on Market and Main’s leasing. He said the plan is viable for the type of tenants they are trying to attract.
“We are confident that this has a great chance of tremendous success from a leasing standpoint and will get the right tenants that are going to fit the community and the community will fit the tenants,” he told the Planning Board.
Chryssicas said they hope to secure office tenants before construction ends on the retail portion of the development.
The barn structure will feature a fire pit, and an ice skating rink could be installed on the property in the winter.
“We need to activate this, and activation is the key, so it is a community get-together,” Chryssicas said.
TFMoran Structural Engineers worked with Maugel Architects and Dellbrook | JKS to complete a 55,000 s/f clubhouse renovation at Nashawtuc Country Club. The recently completed project located in Concord, Massachusetts, is featured as Project of the Month in New England Real Estate Journal’s December 2021 issue.
“Special attention was given to improving clubhouse circulation by creating clear and distinct paths for visitors and members. Public and private event spaces were strategically arranged to connect to essential food service areas while providing privacy for member-only areas.”Maugel Architects
Prior to the renovation, food service supplies and preparation areas were located on separate levels. The newly centralized kitchen was designed with staff efficiency and member experience in mind. In addition to new food service and dining areas, the renovations included a 3,500 s/f fitness center and a 1,000 s/f fitness studio set to offer a variety of classes.
Check out the full article.
New England Real Estate Journal names two TFMoran projects as “2021 New England Top Projects in Construction, Design & Engineering”
Bio-Techne Corporation in Devens, MA and NH SportsDome In Hooksett, NH were recently featured in the December issue of New England Real Estate Journal (NEREJ) as “New England Top Projects in Construction, Design & Engineering”. TFMoran is proud to be a part of two project teams in providing engineering design services.
Bio-Techne Corporation – Devens, MA
TFMoran provided structural engineering design and construction administration services for a 26,000sf addition to the corporate headquarters of Bio-Techne Corporation located in Devens, MA. The new single-story addition provides a combination of manufacturing and warehouse space for the life sciences company. TFMoran worked with project architect Maugel Architects and construction manager Connolly Brothers to provide the new space broken into three areas: an extended shipping area, storage and warehouse, and manufacturing. Two new interior mezzanines were provided, one each in the warehouse and manufacturing areas respectively. Existing gas and fiber-optic utilities within the construction footprint required a custom foundation to allow for continuous operation of the utilities during construction.
The main structure was constructed with a combination of exterior wall types including cold-formed steel studs with masonry veneer and insulated metal panel exterior. The addition is constructed with a structural steel frame. Lateral systems consist of HSS steel chevron braces. Both mezzanines are constructed of concrete on a composite steel deck supported by open web steel joists. The warehouse mezzanine is supported by load-bearing concrete masonry shear walls. The manufacturing mezzanine is supported by structural steel moment frames.
This project was also featured as New England Real Estate Journal‘s “Project of the Month” in February 2021. Check out the full story here.
NH SportsDome – Hooksett, NH
TFMoran provided survey, site/civil design, structural design, local, state, and federal permitting, landscape architecture, traffic engineering, and construction phase services for the NH SportsDome, located in Hooksett, New Hampshire. The indoor sports field is used by both youth-based sports teams and adult teams for turf sports such as soccer, field hockey, baseball, softball, lacrosse, football, etc. The “dome” structure was inflated on January 9th and measures approximately 80,500sf and encloses one (110-yard by 70-yard) turf field with the ability to split the field into two smaller training fields available for use year-round.
The Farley Group provided the air-supported dome structure. Capital Construction, LLC was the General Contractor. Severino Trucking Co., Inc. was the Site Contractor. The facility opened in February 2021.
This project was also featured as “Project of the Month” in April 2021. Check out the full story here.