Steve Duprey buys Lincoln Financial property in Concord eyeing future housing

Published: 6/24/2022 3:03:56 PM

Modified: 6/24/2022 3:03:37 PM

Local developer Stephen Duprey now owns both former Lincoln Financial buildings and 181 acres in the middle of Concord, with plans to house the state Department of Justice, make room for a new parking garage next to the State House, and possibly build homes on one of the biggest pieces of developable property left in the city.

“Northwest of the office buildings there are 100-plus acres out there, out toward the old quarry. … It’s zoned for 2-acre zoning,” said Duprey. “We’re going to study the property, figure out if there are opportunities on that part for housing – probably single-family housing if it happens.”

The $7.4 million purchase marks the latest step for a property that dates back to 1977, when Chubb Life Insurance Co. created an industrial park near the intersection of Rumford and Penacook streets after it bought Concord-based United Life  & Accident Insurance Co. The business thrived, with a second office building getting built in 1986 as Chubb expanded. It employed more than 750 people at the campus through the 1990s.

Chubb was bought by national companies and ended up as part of Lincoln Financial Group. Starting a decade ago Lincoln began consolidating operations and moved out of the campus, leaving the future of the site up in the air.

Duprey bought the smaller office building, One Granite, from Lincoln Financial in 2017. A year ago Manchester developers Brady Sullivan bought the larger building and remaining land for $3.4 million. Duprey has now purchased it from them, giving him the entire parcel.

Duprey noted that this is the third time that he has bought a commercial property in Concord from Shane Brady and Arthur Sullivan after they purchased it while he was eyeing it.

“They’re opportunistic, buying quickly,” he said. “They’ve made a healthy and fair profit, and it gives me time to see if I can make it work.”

Duprey said he is in talks with the state to move the Department of Justice into the 114,000-square-foot southern building, Two Granite. That would make way for the current DOJ building on Capitol Street to be turned into a parking garage for legislators and state government staff. Legislators have approved plans to spend $35 million to build the garage.

Questions remain about the undeveloped southern portion of the parcel, abutting Penacook Street. Part of it has been set aside – “platted” – for an extension of the Langley Parkway, but following public outcry the city council has effectively killed that extension, creating more options.

Duprey said one possibility is to do a swap of a portion of this parcel with city-owned land, making his parcel more developable and giving Concord the chance to widen or straighten Penacook Street at a sharp corner.

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