Concord may buy insurance company building for $4 million to be a new police station

The Concord Group Insurance Co. building is now empty as the corporate headquarters has moved to Bedford.

The Concord Group Insurance Co. building is now empty as the corporate headquarters has moved to Bedford. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor file

By DAVID BROOKS

Monitor staff

Published: 11-14-2023 4:25 PM

The iconic green office building facing North State Street that held the Concord Group Insurance for more than half a century may become the location of the city’s next police station.

A Dec. 11 public hearing has been set on a proposal for Concord to buy the building on Bouton Street facing North State Street from developer Steve Duprey for $4.09 million.

Duprey’s firm has an agreement to purchase the property from the Concord Group for $3.5 million. The Concord Group leases property in the city from the Duprey Co. and the sale price reflects “part of negotiations to terminate said lease agreement,” according to a report from Deputy City Manager Matt Walsh.

Earlier this year the Concord Group moved its headquarters to Bedford in order to be closer to Massachusetts, where it is expanding.

The city of Concord has been contemplating the future of the police station, which was built in 1974 and expanded in 1986 and 2001.

A 2021 study estimated it would cost $10.5 million and take three years to expand and renovate the building on Green Street next to City Hall to reflect current standards and near-term needs. It’s not clear what the cost would be to renovate the Concord Group building into a new police station, or if the city plans to demolish the existing structure and build new.

The 2021 study said the police station should be 27,700 square feet, while the current station is 21,790 square feet. The Concord Group building is about 38,000 square feet.

It also has far more parking – 113 spaces versus the 37 allocated to the police at the Green Street station – and has three separate driveways, which can be valuable for emergency services. Walsh called this “a unique attribute for downtown real estate.”

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The building’s proximity to Interstates 393 and 93, as well as Route 3, is also a plus for police response times.

On the other hand, the Concord Group building is much older than the current station.

If the City Council approves going ahead with the purchase after the Dec. 11 public hearing, the report estimated the sale could close by June 2024.

Concord Group dates back to a small insurance company started in Concord by George Putnam, one of the founders of the New Hampshire Farm Bureau Federation. It has moved several times among downtown buildings as it grew into a major insurance carrier for independent agents in four states.

A Concord Coach once owned by Henry Ford that was displayed in the Concord Group building for decades was moved in August and will eventually join a city museum about the company’s long history of making what was once the nation’s preferred method of long-distance travel.