EXETER — Exeter is undergoing a transformation with several new and ongoing projects with the potential to reshape the town’s landscape.
The Gateway at Exeter, a multi-use development set to bring 200-plus housing units to Epping Road, is expected to break ground this spring, while construction has already started at the Rose Farm, where 38 new homes will be built after years of delays.
Work continues transforming the former Ioka Theater into a mixed-use building and at C/A Design Inc., which is building a new headquarters on Portsmouth Avenue.
Meanwhile, several projects are in the planning stages, including one to construct 59 condos on the Exeter and Stratham town line.
Here is a look at some of the big developments in the works or being proposed in 2024:
The Gateway at Exeter to break ground in 2024
“We hope to do it sooner, but it’ll take about 18 months (to complete the project),” developer Tom Monahan said.
The development plan includes two buildings — one will have 75 units and the other 149 units — and a 50,000-square-foot commercial building, all on 17 acres of land.
The complex is planned to include one- and two-bedroom units.
Monahan, who is behind the approximately $80 million project, had said the project would not have gone forward without funds from InvestNH, a housing incentive program that capitalizes on federal American Rescue Plan Act money to expand and accelerate housing construction across the state.
Gateway at Exeter:Developer reduces workforce housing units, increases rent
‘Eyesore’ property on Water Street to become downtown park
The “eyesore” of Water Street will soon be turned into a public park.
The town’s Select Board recently voted to accept the donation of vacant land at 23 Water St. The 3,300-square-foot property, located between The Chocolatier and Il Cornicello, was donated to the town by Elliott Berkowitz and Nancy Phillips with the stipulation it becomes PairPoint Park.
The property, nicknamed the “missing tooth of Water Street,” has been vacant for over three decades after a 1990 fire destroyed what was Exeter Jewelers’ former location and a shoe store. The only remnants of the buildings are the stone foundations barricaded behind a rotting wooden fence.
Berkowitz and Phillips purchased the property in 2018 with plans that never materialized to develop it into a three-story multi-use building.
The couple said they felt donating the property to the town for a park was a better use, and it would also cement their legacy in town.
While the town approved the land for park use, Select Board Chair Niko Papakonstantis said any future upgrades that affect taxpayers would need voter approval at the yearly Town Meeting.
Darren Winham, the town’s economic development director, said the park will be a “great fit economically, culturally, and aesthetically.”
More residential units coming to 85-87 Water St.
The building that houses Trends Gift Gallery is undergoing a renovation of the existing structure to accommodate six additional one-bedroom residential units.
The town’s Planning Board gave the green light for the project at 85-87 Water St. on Dec. 7 by granting a waiver for on-site parking.
Currently, there is retail on the first floor and three residential units on the second floor.
The plan is to have two retail spaces and nine residential units, using the basement and second floor of the building.
Residents of the additional six units will be utilizing off-street parking, according to Town Planner Dave Sharples.
Stratham farm development:54-home neighborhood pitched with public park
Developer wants to build 59 condos on Stratham, Exeter town line
A developer is looking to construct 59 condos on the Stratham-Exeter town line.
This is the third iteration for residential development at the location. The first two proposals didn’t go anywhere due to the need for water and sewer from Exeter. One was for 400-plus housing units and another for 128 townhouses.
The new proposal relies on private water wells and septic tanks.
The project calls for 59 stand-alone, three-bedroom condos with a deck attached to each unit.
Developer Michael Green of Green & Company said the “dilapidated” area has been undeveloped for a long time. The 77-acre property is off Route 108 past the Route 101 interchange going toward Exeter.
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After years of delays, Rose Farm project begins
The housing development is located on 50 acres just off Wadleigh Street.
Baker Properties has contracted with Profile Homes founder Matt Silva for the project, who said he isn’t building “cookie-cutter styles homes” but rather 10 different styles of homes across 38 lots. These homes, he added, are also built to be net-zero energy homes.
From a modern silhouette to the farmhouse trend, classic bungalow to traditional New Englander, Silva said the development will offer floor plans, ranging between 2,600 to 3,400 square feet.
Realtor Scott Rome of Brick and Barn Group and Compass said the project has already completed two homes near the entrance of the neighborhood.
“We’re targeting 12 (houses) in the first phase in 2024,” said Rome.
C/A Design moving headquarters to Exeter
C/A Design is moving from Dover to Exeter, bringing hundreds of new jobs to Portsmouth Avenue to produce military aircraft parts.
This past April, the town approved the aerospace company’s proposal for a $35 million makeover that will add 40,000 square feet to a former industrial building at 131 Portsmouth Ave. and turn it into a 115,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.
The facility will be used for making cooling systems used in aircraft systems and military defense.
The company is still working out of its Dover location, and it is expected to continue there until the Exeter facility is complete, according to David Choate, executive vice president in New Hampshire for the real estate group Colliers. Choate said C/A has a lease on the building in Dover until July 2024.
The land was sold to C/A last year for approximately $10 million by the Kane Company, according to the company’s CEO Michael Kane. The Kane Company had purchased the land from Osram.
Ioka Theater makeover: From historic cinema to mixed-use hub
The Ioka Theater, which has been vacant since Christmas Eve in 2008, is poised for a major change. Soon, the 100-plus-year-old building will be reintroduced to the town, but this time as a mixed-use building instead of a theater.
The downtown landmark at 53 Water St. was purchased by developers David Cowie and Jay Caswell in 2020.
There have been major changes to the interior and exterior of the Ioka building, most notably the three levels of decks — overhanging the river — on the back of the building installed last August.
Since then, ExeterTV reported extensive work has taken place in the interior of the building, such as the concrete subfloor on the river level. Other work includes the installation of electrical wires and water pipes. The next phase of the interior renovation is sheetrock work.
On the front end of the building, three changes will take place in 2024 — the removal and relocation of the “Meyer Building” sign, which will make space for five new windows, and the installation of a new canopy that will run along the building.
Upon completion, the new Ioka will feature a speakeasy-style restaurant in the basement, retail space on the street level, and two stories of condos above. The bar will feature an outdoor deck encompassing the foundation that juts out into the Squamscott River. As proposed, there would also be a private roof terrace for condo owners.