Peterborough’s Stone Barn for sale as development window narrows

  • The Stone Barn in Peterborough is for sale. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • The Stone Barn in Peterborough is for sale. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/16/2021 1:55:39 PM

The Stone Barn on Old Street Road in Peterborough is for sale after progress stalled on a 32-unit condomimium and farm “agrihood” complex, which was initially approved in 2018 and received a one-year extension in October 2020. 

“If someone wants to do a development there, time is somewhat limited,” owner Stan Fry said. The 2019 repeal of TNOZ II zoning overlay precludes a future re-approval of the same condominium project on that site, Town Planner Danica Melone said, so time is of the essence. Construction must start before the approval expires, she said. The project is set to expire on Oct. 13 this year unless the applicants file for another extension.

Fry puchased the building with Brad Malt and Cy Gregg in 2014 when it was in dire need of structural work to keep it from collapsing. They managed to complete the necessary repairs, but are seeking a new developer to take up the condomimium project before the clock runs out on the permit, by either partnering with them or buying the property outright. “Construction is not our main business,” Fry said.

 The approved development, initially overseen by project leader Amelia Tracey, placed 14 condominium units inside the barn itself along with a cafe. More units were situated in three new  proposed buildings and an addition off the back of the barn. The plan also called for three carports and working farmland, managed by a live-in farmer. In early talks with the Planning Board, the condo units were expected to be between 600 and 1,400 square feet and sell from $250,000 to $440,000, as previously reported. Project costs wound up higher than anticipated, Tracey wrote in an update in 2019. “We... were unwilling to price all of the units at a level completely inaccessible to most families in the region. Thus, we have begun the process of redesigning the financials of the project to offer a variety of housing options that work for all income levels," she wrote. Tracey left the project about a year and a half ago, Fry said. Owners have been working with contractors and “have a better handle” on the cost issues now, he said.

The barn was designed by Peterborough native Forrest Clayton Mercer for Benjamin Cheney and his family and constructed in 1912 to house cattle and horses. It’s been more than half a century since the barn served its original purpose. It changed hands a number of times in the past several decades, with aspirations such as condominiums, a hotel, or a restaurant going unfulfilled, as reported in 2015, after Fry and company took up the cause.

The 32-acre property is listed for $2.2 million. There are already multiple people interested, Fry said.


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