Plaistow board hears Panera Bread plans
PLAISTOW — Panera Bread is moving ahead with plans to bring a new bakery/café to the Stateline Plaza.
The planning board got its first look at the proposal last week. The franchise owner is looking to tear down an Irving gas station, remove the pumps and build a new, 4,052-square-foot restaurant at 4 Plaistow Road (Route 125).
The restaurant would sit at the entrance to the plaza, but would be located further off Route 125 than the gas station and would have more green space. It would lease the space from Northstar Centers LLC, which owns the shopping center.
A preliminary meeting was held with the planning board last week.
“I think overall there was general support, but acknowledgement that it's a tight site now and this will make it tighter. They need to make it work with traffic flow and parking,” Town Planner Leigh Komornick said.
Panera Bread Co. currently owns and franchises more than 1,500 bakery-cafés under the Panera Bread, Saint Louis Bread Co. and Paradise Bakery & Café names.
“There aren't a lot of restaurants in Plaistow and Panera is pretty popular and offers a different type of dining experience for people than what we have out there now,” Komornick said.
Komornick said the challenge will be building the restaurant in the tight space.
The plan still needs several permits and must undergo an engineering review. It also would need a waiver for parking. With the new Panera, the plaza would be required to have 749 spaces, but only has 689.
Komornick said negotiations are underway to see if the city of Haverhill, Mass., will provide water and sewer, as the plaza sits on the state border.
If not, she said, Panera would have to install its own well and septic system.
A Panera restaurant also is being built in Derry.
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