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New stores proposed for South Willow Street

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader

October 28. 2015 11:15PM
This is an artist's rendering of a project proposed for a 17-acre site at 655 S. Willow St. in Manchester. (COURTESY)

MANCHESTER — Anagnost Developers and Brady Sullivan announced plans Wednesday for a $60 million mixed-use redevelopment project at the site of the former Osram Sylvania manufacturing plant on South Willow Street.

The project, which could bring another 10 to 12 retailers to the 17-acre site at 655 S. Willow St. by the end of next year, is expected to bring 50 to 100 construction jobs to the Queen City, plus an as-yet undetermined number of retail jobs, and add $1.2 million in tax revenue to the city’s tax base.

“We have entered into a joint venture agreement with Brady Sullivan and closed on the property, and we intend to bring a brand new 300,000-square-foot, mixed-use development to the largest piece of land available on South Willow Street in Manchester,” said developer Dick Anagnost of Anagnost Companies.

“Manchester is still in big demand,” said Arthur Sullivan of Brady Sullivan. “Aldi’s is coming in, Michael’s is expanding, and with the new Wal-Mart coming in and the old Wal-Mart under agreement, there’s a lot of interest in South Willow Street. We look forward to filling this up quickly. We have a pretty big list of potential retail businesses that want to come in here.”

“When Sylvania closed, we lost 150 jobs here,” Mayor Ted Gatsas said. “With these two developers coming together, hopefully we will replace those jobs. This is wonderful and I applaud you for having such faith in the city.”

In September 2014, Osram Sylvania announced the closing of its Manchester location as part of a restructuring of the company due to declining sales for traditional lighting products, according to a company spokesman. Osram also closed operations at its Central Falls, R.I., plant and in York, Pa., citing the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which phased out incandescent lighting and required the use of more energy-efficient fluorescent lighting.

According to Anagnost, the project will result in an L-shaped building, with retail fronts along the South Willow Street-facing side and left side of the building. Everything to the left of the current front entrance will be torn down to create parking.

“We anticipate being able to get 500 cars on site,” said Anagnost. “South Willow Street is still the shopping mecca of Manchester. In just the past couple of days we’ve had at least a dozen tenants already interested in it.”

“The entire building is 300,000 square feet,” Anagnost said. “We could put a major anchor store in of 50, 60 or up to 100,000 square feet, and then smaller stores.

Anagnost said the traffic light on South Willow Street will be used to control entry to the site. He and Brady Sullivan representatives plan to go before the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in November seeking rezoning to conform with the rest of the zoning in the area.

“Right now this is considered spot zoning,” said Anagnost. “We want it to be zoned B2 to be consistent with the rest of the strip.”

Anagnost said after going before the aldermen next month, they hope to go for a subdivision approval in December, site plan approval in February, with a groundbreaking in late spring or early summer 2016.

“The first tenants could be in about a year from now,” said Anagnost. “I think you will see retailers that are very complementary to other stores in the area.”

Ward 12 Alderman Keith Hirschmann quickly offered a suggestion for a major tenant.

“Whoever brings the Christmas Tree Shops here is going to be the most popular guy in the city,” he said.

pfeely@unionleader.com


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