June 26, 2009
Pinardville project has slight changes
Top rating:
Plan gaining wide attention


GOFFSTOWN - A new mixed-use development is moving along on schedule in Pinardville , and getting some attention statewide, according to a presentation the by engineering firm behind the project.

Robert Cruess, president of TF Moran, gave the planning board in Goffstown an update on the status of the development, on Mast Road near Joffre Street, and presented some slight changes to the plans for townhouses on the site.

There is already a new Rite-Aid and a park, Abingdon Park, on the land. The site plan also calls for 25 units of townhouse housing, and for additional retail or office buildings, combining low-cost, or “workforce,” housing, retail, business, green and recreational space.

The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority, which competitively scores housing projects, gave it the top rating of 15 projects, Cruess said.

He said the park, while not totally complete, is already attracting attention, and members of the Bedford Town Council will tour it next month to get ideas of what kind of difference a park can make in town centers, Cruess said.

“When we started 2-and-a-half years ago, there were actually people in the audience who said, ‘Why are you bothering to put in a park here? You’re wasting your time,’” Cruess told the board.

The changes presented to the board included making the townhouse buildings smaller, and removing garages. Some members of the board raised concern about the lack of adequate storage space, but Jennifer Vadney, development director for NeighborWorks Greater Manchester, the company that will build the homes, said tenants of townhouses do not need the space.

All maintenance will be taken care of for the tenants, she said, so there is no need to store things like snow blowers or shovels.

“Tenants prefer to have that unfurnished storage space in the basement,” she said.

The board agreed with Cruess that the changes to the plan were not “material changes.”

After the meeting, Cruess said mixed-use projects are becoming increasing popualar for their convenience and their environmental value.

“The nearer you are to a retail node, the less you have to drive,” he said. “You save some CO2, and some gas.”

If offices can be included in the development, or if people who live there work in retail, the benefit is even greater.

“Environmentally, it’s good because you can get people to work closer to where they live,” said Ann Cruess, the landscape architect who designed Abingdon Park.

With an increased interest in mixed-use developments, and tax credits for “workforce” housing, the project has moved even faster than expected, Robert Cruess said.

The real material changes may come, he said, in the retail part of the plan. The original plan calls for three retail buildings in the middle of the development, but it could be two, or could feature office space instead, he said.

“We’re talking to people” about those opportunities, he said. “It’s certainly not final, but we’re talking to people.”


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