), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers in New England, and Portwalk Place (http://www.portwalknh.com
), a mixed-use development in downtown Portsmouth, are working together to encourage smart growth and support economic development in Portsmouth. As part of this partnership, Unitil is upgrading the natural gas infrastructure downtown near Portwalk Place, at no cost to taxpayers, making the system more efficient and reliable for the entire community.
“We have developed Portwalk Place with smart growth principles, including walkable streets, energy-efficient LEED buildings, underground parking, and integration into the city streetscape,” said Jeff Johnston, principal in Cathartes Private Investments, developers of Portwalk Place. “Using natural gas as an efficient and clean source of energy fits within these smart growth principles. We are proud to partner with Unitil in providing greater energy efficiency to the residents and businesses of Portsmouth.”
As construction on Portwalk Place’s phase three continues, Unitil is replacing older steel pipes in the surrounding area with state-of-the art, high-density plastic pipe. So far, Unitil has laid more than 2,500 feet of non-corrosive plastic pipe in, and around the downtown area, allowing the natural gas system to operate at an elevated, more consistent pressure similar to other areas of the city. This project, made possible due to close collaboration between Portwalk Place and Unitil, will modernize a portion of downtown Portsmouth’s gas infrastructure, making it more reliable, efficient, and better able to meet the growing demand for natural gas. Whenever possible, Unitil coordinates infrastructure work to occur in conjunction with existing construction projects in an effort to minimize disruptions to pedestrians and drivers in the local community. For this project, Portwalk’s planned excavation to construct its underground parking garage aided the completion of the pipeline upgrade work.
As part of the project, Unitil is implementing an innovative GPS location system for all new pipe laid in the ground. Moving forward, Unitil will have access to a robust database of infrastructure information that will make the system smarter and make maintenance and repairs more efficient.
“By working closely with Portwalk and the City of Portsmouth, we’ve been able to upgrade the area’s natural gas infrastructure safely and efficiently,” David Beaulieu, senior business development representative, Unitil. “Access to natural gas is an important factor in economic growth. We’re proud to partner with Portwalk as they develop the former Parade Mall space into a thriving new residential and business community.”
Customers and businesses interested in switching to natural gas should visit www.unitil.com/switch
and use the "Gas Availability Tool" to learn if they might be eligible.
About Portwalk Place
Portwalk Place has begun its third and final phase of development, including a 120-room Hampton Inn & Suites Hotel and the second phase of The Residences at Portwalk Place, 113 new luxury apartments that will be ready for occupancy in the summer of 2014. The LEED-certified Portwalk Place currently offers the Marriott Residence Inn, the Portsmouth Harbor Events and Conference Center, additional retail and restaurants, and the popular Residences at Portwalk (www.residencesatportwalk.com). In the center of Portsmouth’s historic and bustling downtown, Portwalk Place is where “urban energy meets coastal New England charm and beauty,” within two blocks of more than 30 restaurants, 20 stores, five art galleries, several cafés, numerous theaters and performing art venues, and dozens of specialty retail shops.