LANCASTER — Plans are finalized and contractors are lined up to begin renovation of the historic 11,000-square-foot Parker J. Noyes building in Lancaster, the Northern Forest Center announced. Site preparation begins June 29, followed by interior demolition work.

“This gem of a building is getting a 100-year upgrade,” said Ben Southworth of Garland Mill. “It’s a very significant historic restoration and we’re excited to be part of it.” The Northern Forest Center hired Garland Mill as construction manager for the project.

The center purchased the building in the fall of 2018 as part of its community investment work in Lancaster. The renovated building will contribute to revitalizing Lancaster's downtown and supporting the local economy.

“We want the Lancaster area to benefit from this project from the beginning,” said Julie Renaud Evans, program director for the Northern Forest Center. “Working with designers and builders from the region is supporting local jobs now, and when the building is complete Taproot’s expanded operations and the new apartments should both make a very positive contribution to the vitality of Main Street.”

The center has listed the building on the N.H. State Register of Historic Places and worked with Alba Architects of North Woodstock, a historical consultant, and Garland Mill to plan a renovation that will restore the building’s historic integrity.

“Garland Mill is well known for the high performance, net-zero buildings we design and construct,” said Ben Southworth, “but we’re also passionate about restoring historic buildings and using salvage materials. We’re looking forward to bringing as much local talent into the project as we can.”

The renovated first floor will provide a new home for two programs of Taproot Farm & Environmental Education Center, a Lancaster nonprofit. The new space will enable Taproot to expand the Root Seller Marketplace, which provides access to healthy local foods from more than 50 of the region's growers and producers. It will also be the headquarters of Taproot's North Country Gleaners, a program that collects surplus produce from farms and backyard gardens to distribute to those in need.

"We're thrilled to have the opportunity to expand the Root Seller, as we actually outgrew our current space several years ago,” said Melissa Grella, Taproot's executive director. “The expansion will allow us to increase offerings of both regional retail products and products from our local farmers, food producers and crafters. It will also make North Country Gleaners more efficient and productive with a central location for drop off, processing and distribution.”

The second and third floors of the building will be remodeled to create six downtown apartments designed to attract professionals and young families seeking to live on Main Street.

Garland Mill has hired Commonwealth Construction of Lancaster to do the exterior façade work and window installation, Cantin Construction of Northumberland for interior structural work, and David Chessman of the Pleasant Valley Road in Lancaster to do the precise excavation work underneath the building. In addition, Corey Electric of Littleton will be doing the electrical work and Northwoods Manufacturing of Lancaster will be doing the countertops in all the kitchens. Garland Mill expects to use other local contractors to complete the mechanical systems, but that work has not yet been sent out for bid.

The project has attracted local and statewide support. Partners to date include: the town of Lancaster; Taproot Farm & Environmental Education Center; Cloutier Lancaster Redevelopment, LLC; Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the N.H. Charitable Foundation; the state of New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program; the N.H. Preservation Alliance; the N.H. Division of Historical Resources; the N.H. Community Development Finance Authority; Mascoma Bank Foundation; Eversource Energy; Trividia Manufacturing Solutions; USDA Rural Development; Coos Economic Development Corporation; You Have Our Trust Fund; and Northern Forest Center Lancaster Advisory Group.

In the late 1800s, the building became home to Parker J. Noyes Pharmaceutical Company, which developed the sugar-coated pill and an automated machine to produce tablets at the rate of 5,000 pills per hour. The company evolved into manufacturing animal feed and moved to another location in Lancaster in the 1980s, where its successor, Trividia, still operates.

The center has secured significant financing for this $2.5-million project, including a mix of tax credits, public and foundation grants, charitable gifts, and impact investments. Based on funds raised to date, $100,000 or 4 percent of the funding is from federal sources; $2.4 million or 96 percent is from non-federal sources.

The center’s Lancaster Main Street Fund is attracting investors who want to put their money to work doing good things for the community while also receiving a financial return on their investment. For opportunities to support the project, contact Lila Thorne at (603) 933-2159 or lthorne@northernforest.org.

The Northern Forest Center is a regional innovation leader and investment partner creating rural vibrancy by connecting people and economy to the forested landscape.

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