196-unit apartment complex being proposed at former mill, Kleen site in Lebanon


Valley News Correspondent

Published: 09-21-2022 1:23 AM

LEBANON — The Lebanon Planning Board will consider a proposal to create a 196-unit apartment complex at the former Kleen laundry facility and dry cleaner business on Mechanic Street, which project developers say will help address the region’s housing demand while providing residents with homes within walking distance to Lebanon’s city center.

A partnership of New England-based developers, who purchased the 5-acre site in 2021, seeks to build a multi-phase residential complex at the site of the Woolen Mill building, which housed the Kleen laundry business until 2019. The proposed project would consist of four residential buildings, three of which would be new construction, and a two-story standalone parking garage.

The project would renovate the three-story Woolen Mill building to create 49 dwelling units and convert two adjacent buildings, including a boiler room and the former Kleen dry cleaner store, into spaces to provide common areas and amenities for tenants, such as a fitness room.

The three new residential constructions would include a five-story building containing 89 apartment units and two four-story buildings on Mechanic Street containing a combined 85 units.

The complex will provide a combined 214 parking spaces, including exterior lots and parking garages.

Jon Livadas, of LWM Residential, a development firm based in Delaware, said the partners aim to increase housing opportunities in downtown Lebanon through the revitalization of the historic mill building and the addition of new construction, while providing residents with easy access to downtown dining and recreation.

“We want to create a walkable and enjoyable living experience for residents, where people can park their cars and enjoy the Mascoma River or a five-minute walk to Lucky’s Coffee Garage,” Livadas said in a Tuesday phone interview.

The complex, which will be constructed in three phases, plans to provide a total of 57 studio apartments, 100 one-bedroom apartments and 39 two-bedroom apartments, according to the partnership’s planning application.

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Livadas said that the rents will be based on market rate, though the partners are still working through ways to provide affordable options.

The Lebanon Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed project on Oct. 10 at City Hall. The meeting will include a public presentation of the project, a Planning Board discussion and a forum for residents to ask questions or comment.

The Planning Board also scheduled a site visit of the property at 5 p.m. on Oct. 6, which is open to the public.

“This (property) has some tricky parking and traffic direction, so I think a site visit would be in order,” Planning Board Chairman Bruce Garland said at a meeting on Monday when the Planning Board accepted the completed project application.

Lebanon officials have conveyed concerns for several years about traffic volume and safety on Mechanic Street, a heavily commercial corridor along Route 4 connecting Interstate 89 at Exit 19 and Route 120 in downtown Lebanon. According to a 2019 traffic study, one intersection of Mechanic Street with Slayton Hill Road, a crossroads to neighborhoods on both sides of Mechanic Street, saw more than 14,000 vehicles per day, a traffic volume comparable to more populous New Hampshire cities.

In June the Planning Board gave approval for a 152-unit apartment complex across from Colburn Park. That project, which has not started construction, will comprise two six-story residential buildings, built in separate phases.

The Valley News reported the pending sale of the Woolen Mill property in June 2021, though parties involved in the sale negotiation at the time declined to identify the buyer.

The 5-acre property at the top of Mechanic Street includes the 59,000-square-foot main building, which was occupied by the laundry operation, and a separate 11,700-square-foot red brick warehouse and office building.

The property also contains an existing defunct smokestack, which the developers said will not be removed.

A copy of the Woolen Mill project application can be found in the Planning Board agenda packet for its meeting on Monday, Sept. 19, on Lebanon’s website at lebanonnh.gov/1422/Agendas-Minutes-and-Meetings.

Patrick Adrian can be reached at pfadrian25@gmail.com.

CORRECTION: The Lebanon Planning Board's scheduled site visit of the Woolen Mill building at 1 Foundry Street will be on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 5:00 p.m. An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the site visit date.