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The Renaissance of the West End

Live, Work, and Play in Chinburg’s Transformed Historic Brew Yard

Once the “frontier” of Portsmouth, the West End neighborhood has undergone a significant transformation—a renaissance; now, everyone is trying to claim a spot in this hidden gem, nestled in one of the most charming cities in the Granite State. With boutiques, gyms, salons, and restaurants sprinkled throughout, it’s an extension of downtown Portsmouth–without the hassle of finding paid on-street or garage parking. Driving through the West End, you’ll notice a combination of charming single and multi-family homes, old and new, and clusters of mixed-use and commercial buildings, creating a lovely contrast between historic and modern-day architecture. 

Starting (unofficially) with Plaza 800 on one side of Islington Street and the old Button Factory on the other, the West End stretches under the Route 1 Bypass to Cate Street, down the Islington Street corridor, and extends through the adjacent neighborhoods. The community is pleasantly walkable in good weather and features many places to enjoy great dining, craft breweries, arts and culture, and fun for the whole family–all less than a mile from downtown

One of the region’s premier developers, Chinburg Properties, laid out a clear vision for preserving and revitalizing one of the neighborhood’s historic landmarks, the Frank Jones Brew Yard. Beginning with the restoration of the 1884 House and the Brew House in 2018, followed by the construction of Brewery 145 in early 2020, these ambitious developments contributed to the area’s residential and economic growth. “When the former Frank Jones Brew Yard site became available, we were excited to transform these buildings that had been vacant for many years,” explains Jennifer Chinburg. “We’ve developed an expertise and passion for transforming communities by acquiring unused buildings that have been allowed to decay for far too long–but still have historic significance worth salvaging.” 

The Frank Jones Brew Yard now houses a mix of residential apartments and commercial businesses inside two thoughtfully restored brick buildings, surrounded by ample parking and private sidewalks leading to nearby shops. Much effort went into preserving the history of the building, which, in 1882, was home to one of the largest beer manufacturers in the U.S., the Frank Jones Brewery. There are tales of Jones building tunnels beneath the buildings to continue production secretly during Prohibition, but sadly, the brewery closed and, after the repeal, reopened as the Eldridge Brewing Company.

The Brew House is now a residential property with 54 apartments, and the 1884 House features commercial space on the first two floors, with 14 residential apartments on the third and fourth floors. These dynamic, mixed-use buildings create a community centered around convenience. Residents enjoy an economical alternative to downtown living without sacrificing the charm or accessibility of being in the center of everything. Commercial tenants benefit from “built-in” customers, free parking, and proximity to other businesses for patrons to visit while in the area. As with all Chinburg developments, these buildings include impeccably decorated common spaces for residents and commercial tenants, along with rooftop decks, outdoor grills, fitness rooms, function rooms, bike storage, and beautifully landscaped outdoor areas that allow residents to “live large in small spaces.”

Chinburg’s passion for transforming abandoned and underutilized mill properties is evident in the vibrant communities it has built over the past 35 years. Its standout mill renovations purposefully preserve the historic charm of each carefully restored building, creating a seamless blend of old and new–a style that has become synonymous with the Chinburg brand. Walking into any Chinburg property, one appreciates how it is thoughtfully designed for aesthetic appeal while inspiring a lifestyle of comfort, convenience, and flexibility.

Located in the new 1884 House, Botanica Restaurant and Gin Bar sits in the heart of the West End, offering an intimate dining experience that blends the history of the building into every aspect of its design. The bar and table tops were made from reclaimed wood from the building’s original 300-year-old yellow pine beams, giving the space character. “I always thought about opening an upscale restaurant in the West End. When I heard they were redeveloping this building, I connected with Chinburg, and with their support, we made it happen,” said Botanica owner Brendan Vesey. With plenty of free parking and patio seating, it’s no surprise the establishment has become a year-round hot spot on the Seacoast since opening in 2019. Botanica’s customers include a mix of tenants, residents from surrounding neighborhoods, and tourists passing through. Brendan also notes the convenience of the West End’s many restaurants and shops. “Living less than a mile from the restaurant, I can easily walk to work and run errands for myself and the restaurant. I often get coffee from Caffe Kilim, check on my beer delivery from Liar’s Bench, or grab lunch from Otto.”

Owner of Oomph Salon, Tanya Hart, moved her team of stylists from downtown to the first floor of the Frank Jones Brew Yard and, shortly after, expanded to the second floor. “The West End has changed quite a bit over recent years; no one was coming here for much before, but now many new businesses have moved in, making it a great spot. It’s close to the highway and away from busy downtown. Plus, architecturally, the space is gorgeous.” Tanya plans to bring her second business into the building soon. 

Just across the parking lot from the Frank Jones Brew Yard, on the former Portsmouth DPW garage site, sits Brewery 145, a 4-story contemporary-style building with 92 residential units with outdoor patios, balconies, and a shared rooftop deck. The Brewery Lane Suites sit between these properties with businesses including Mission Fitness, Compass Real Estate, Roots Integrative Therapies, Elements Design, and others.

The Brewery 145 development brings a much-improved aesthetic to the area. Among the first tenants were 82-year-old Ed Beevers and his wife, Suzette. “Every property we’ve owned has been a lifestyle change. At this stage in life, I don’t need to do snow removal or pay property taxes,” said Ed. “There’s a great mix of ages in the building; everyone knows everyone by name. And I’m not afraid to walk at night. I can go to Mojo’s for a glass of wine and not worry about being bothered.” Ed grew up on Islington Street and has since lived in many areas of Southern Maine and the Seacoast. “They’ve kept the look of the historic properties, which I like.”

Another resident, John Dye, who owns Sole Training in the 1884 House, said, “It’s nice to walk across the parking lot to work. Living here provides access to so much–a high-end restaurant like Botanica, Korean food at Nikki’s Banh Mi Shop, and Hannaford’s grocery store. They’ve done a great job repurposing the buildings instead of tearing everything down.”

It’s easy to see what makes this little slice of Portsmouth so special to those who live or build their businesses here. Some even call it the “Brooklyn” of New Hampshire. Whether or not you agree, one thing is for sure–this neighborhood has become a highly desirable place for people of all ages and stages of life looking for a community where they can live, work, and play on the Seacoast. 


"We’ve developed an expertise and passion for transforming communities by acquiring unused buildings that have been allowed to decay for far too long."


“There’s a great mix of ages in the building; everyone knows everyone by name."

  • Jen & Eric Chinburg Meagan Explores Photography
  • Seacoast Real Estate Photography
  • Brendan Vesey Ruth Ganev Photography
  • John Dye & Ed Beevers Ruth Ganev Photography
  • Ruth Ganev Photography
  • Tanya Hart Ruth Ganev Photography
  • Kevin Edge Photography
  • Seacoast Real Estate Photography
  • Seacoast Real Estate Photography
  • Seacoast Real Estate Photography
  • Botanica | Seacoast Real Estate Photography

Businesses featured in this article