By STEPHEN BEALE
Union Leader Correspondent
GOFFSTOWN --- 03/30/07:
A proposal for a mixed-use development on what is surely one of the largest remaining tracts of unused land in the Pinardville area of Goffstown won a non-binding endorsement of the planning board last night.
The approximately 18-acre property is located on Mast Road between the Hannaford and Shaw's plazas. It was donated to St. Anselm College several years ago by Rachel Plante, according to Fr. Jonathan DeFelice, president of the college. She donated the land, he said, with the understanding that the college would sell it.
Leed Development, LLC is eyeing the possibility of turning the property into 37,000 square feet of commercial space and more than 40 units of high-end residential space, according to Robert Cruess, a representative of the developer and president of TF Moran, an engineering firm.
Cruess said a drug store will likely take up 13,000 square feet of that commercial space; he would not name the company. The remainder could be turned into a restaurant, bank, small shops, or professional office space, he said.
A preliminary design shows several one-story buildings where the commercial uses would be spread out. A band of green space would separate the buildings from Mast Road and in back would be a ring of four residential buildings, with condos ranging from one to three bedrooms.
Those commercial, office, and residential spaces would be in the front section of the property facing Mast Road, cut off from the back area by a small brook. Cruess said the back section could be turned into 24 townhouses or 12 single-family homes and would be developed later.
The project would require an additional light on Mast Road, Cruess said, in an often-congested stretch where there are already three lights. Cruess said the additional light would not make traffic in the area worse and could actually improve it, because all four lights would be synchronized.
Opposite the light would be one main entrance into the development, with a smaller, one-way driveway leading in from the Hannaford side of the project.
Planning board members last night applauded the project, saying it would help revitalize the area.
"This is sort of like an Oreo cookie; you've got two pieces of land on either side then the good stuff in between," James Raymond said.
Cruess said he hoped to return to the planning board soon with a more formal proposal. Once construction begins, he said it could take up to five years to develop the entire property.
One of the conditions of the purchase and sales agreement is that the planning board approve the proposal, according to representatives of the parties involved, all of whom declined to disclose the asking price for the property.
The land is assessed at $472,300, according to 2005 town assessment data.
Hugh O'Neil, a real estate consultant with St. Anselm, said the college was asking more, but he declined to discuss details. DeFelice said the profit would go toward the college endowment.