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February 13. 2012 10:59PM

Market Basket nearing completion in Manchester


The new 100,000-square-foot Market Basket in downtown Manchester is nearing completion. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — Market Basket plans to open its new, 100,000-square-foot supermarket at 460 Elm St. in early spring, but a legal challenge has limited its store project in Bedford to site work.

Pro Con Inc. of Manchester, general contractor for the Elm Street store, said it has scheduled completion for the end of March.

Pro Con said interior finishes at the downtown store, which is near the Verizon Wireless Arena, are nearly complete, with work continuing on electrical and refrigeration systems.

Market Basket has done site work at the Donald Street site at state Route 114 in Bedford, but a challenge to its variance from the town is pending in the New Hampshire Supreme Court. The Hannaford Bros. supermarket company has challenged Bedford over what it contends is an unfair allowance for Market Basket to build the store on Donald Street more than twice the size of what Hannaford was allowed to build in south Bedford on Route 101.

Jim Lamp, a consultant to Market Basket's development partner, RMD Construction, said, “We have started site work and will probably continue with site work as soon as the weather permits.”

But, he said, “There has been no decision made regarding building construction.”

Bedford Planning Director Rick Sawyer said the town would allow Market Basket to build pending the outcome of the court case but only at the store's own risk. If Market Basket builds the store, then loses the variance, it might have to tear down the building at its own cost.

However, Bedford voters will consider a zoning amendment March 13 that could make the court case moot.

Proposed by the planning board, “Amendment No. 2” would allow buildings with footprints of more than 40,000 square feet under a new “Commercial-2 zoning district” for the Donald Street Extension property.

“The current zone has a restriction of 40,000-square-foot footprints, and the new proposed district does not have that restriction,” Sawyer said. The Bedford site is the former home of Bedford Golfland and Slammer's Sports Bar.

On Elm Street, work also is under way on a free-standing stair tower that will lead customers from Elm Street to the front entrance of the store.

The store is being built on a 10.7-acre site in the renovated former Rockwell Automation-Allen Bradley plant.

After demolishing a portion of the structure, including exterior walls and concrete slab, Pro Con said it recycled 95 percent of waste material. The company said its plans include the new store to become LEED certified.


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