Makeover Planned for Downtown Public Housing Building

By MEGAN DOYLE Concord Monitor staff Wednesday, June 24, 2015 (Published in print: Wednesday, June 24, 2015) Concord Housing and Redevelopment will begin a major remodel to one of its public housing buildings this summer. Executive Director John Hoyt said the Kennedy Building at 1 Thompson St. is slated for about $500,000 in upgrades.

As part of the project, the housing agency will renovate two 50-year-old elevators, replace the heating system for hot water, bring the building entrances up to modern standards for accessibility and improve an outdoor common space for residents. “It’s to make sure that (building) is viable for the long term and is as modern as we can possibly make it,” Hoyt said. “That helps decrease our operational costs. And it makes life for our residents easier.” The Kennedy Building was built in 1964 and has 88 units. This revamp will turn attention to some major infrastructure that hasn’t been touched since then, Hoyt said. That includes two elevators, one of which hasn’t been updated since it was installed. That work is the most time intensive – likely six to eight weeks. “We’re going to bring it up to some of the most recent life safety codes and building codes that we live with today,” Hoyt said. The two building entrances will be rebuilt, and the lobby will eventually be a roomier and warmer space for tenants. Another common space – an outdoor yard – will be revamped to make its paths smoother and more accessible. Aging and overgrown shrubs will be replaced by newer plants. “We want a more inviting atmosphere for folks to go outside and enjoy around the building,” Hoyt said. The system for heating hot water will be replaced by more energy efficient boilers, which will save money on utility costs. The construction is expected to be completed near the middle of November. The plumbing system underwent a $1.3 million upgrade several years ago, but Hoyt said this renovation is the biggest since then. And the building needs to be built to last. “The need for housing of this type is always going to be here in the city,” Hoyt said. “And we want to make sure we have safe, decent housing.”