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February 17. 2013 6:37PM

Engineers Week: Behind the scenes at the Merrimack Premium Outlets

MERRIMACK - Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB) was chosen by Premium Outlets and Simon Properties to assist with permitting and entitlements for the premium outlet center that opened in July 2012 in Merrimack.

The first phase of development is complete and consists of approximately 430,000 square feet of retail space in over 100 shops. When finished, the center is expected to include more than 120 outlet stores and create more than 800 full- and part-time jobs.

The 171-acre site development includes 550,000 square feet of premium outlet retail space, over 3,000 parking spaces, several restaurant outparcels and a 200-room hotel. The extensive permitting and entitlement process began with a proposed change in the town's zoning ordinance, a successful process that was enacted by over 55 percent of the town's voters. VHB helped Premium Outlets and Simon gain the conditional use permit from the planning board, a process that examined the potential environmental, economic, and physical effects of the project on the surrounding community. Criteria for receiving the conditional use permit included:

--Access to high-capacity transportation infrastructure.

--No unreasonable impact from noise, visual blight, or other nuisance.

--High tax value contributing to the tax base of the town, with a demonstrated economic and fiscal benefit to the town.

After the conditional use permit was granted, VHB helped Premium Outlets and Simon navigate the extensive site plan approval process.

The project began construction in October 2010, and VHB led a team of construction engineers providing oversight of construction activities. VHB planners and engineers helped design and implement extensive off-site transportation system improvements, off-site sewer and water system improvements, and environmental mitigation for proposed wetland impacts.


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