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Flurry of building projects gives Bedford a boost

BEDFORD - Development on Route 101 behind the Copper Door restaurant continues, with a new Dunkin' Donuts, state liquor store and the expansion of a business.

Planning Director Rick Sawyer said taxpayers can look forward to the broadening of the commercial tax base in 2013.

"It will be great; some projects will be fully completed and we'll see improvement," he said.

In Bedford Hills on Corporate Drive, Sawyer said Optics One, a company that specializes in optical equipment for the defense and commercial industries, will expand its 30,000-square-foot building by an additional 50,000 square feet.

"We expect occupancy there any day," Sawyer said, "and my understanding is that they want to start [the addition] immediately."

Sawyer said other development in the South River Road area - including the renovation at the Bedford Mall, a new Lexus dealership and Chipotle restaurant - are a benefit to the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district in the South River Road area, but not necessarily the town as a whole.

"A lot of the development we've seen over there is separate from the rest of the town," Sawyer said.

In a TIF district, the town bonds and makes improvements. New businesses in the district pay more taxes, which serve as bond repayment. Once the bond is paid, the taxes go into the town's general fund.

Sawyer said the completion of projects outside the TIF district will help moderate property taxes.

Other projects Sawyer expects to be completed in 2013 include the Bedford Falls assisted living facility and Market Basket, located at the corner of Route 114 and Donald Street.

Sawyer said the New Hampshire Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments today to determine whether Market Basket competitor Hannaford Bros. has legal standing in a lawsuit it filed over the zoning board's 2010 granting of a variance to Market Basket.

"It's still ongoing, but Market Basket can still open and proceed at their own risk," Sawyer said.

Road work at the Donald Street roundabout will be completed sometime this spring, he said.

"In the meantime, they're progressing on the inside of the building," he said.

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