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January 06. 2014 8:21PM

Nashua planning board to discuss proposal to build health club, Chick-fil-A

NASHUA — City planners this week will review plans for a new fitness center and Chick-fil-A restaurant at the Somerset Plaza along Amherst Street.

On Thursday, the Nashua City Planning Board will be presented with a proposal to construct a two-story health club and standalone Chick-fil-A drive-through restaurant at 375 and 379 Amherst St.

If approved, the new development will be housed at the Somerset Plaza where the former Market Basket was located before it moved last year to the opposite end of the plaza.

DeMoulas Super Markets Inc. of Tewksbury, Mass., currently owns the retail property, which will be demolished to allow for the new development.

"We are very excited about this project," John Matthews, landlord representative with DeMoulas, said on Monday. "Somerset Plaza has always been an extremely successful shopping center."

This will be Chick-fil-A's second restaurant in New Hampshire if approved by city planners. There is currently a Chick-fil-A kiosk at the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua, however the newest proposal includes a standalone, 5,000-square-foot restaurant with a drive-through.

"This will be a full-service restaurant," said Matthews.

The proposed 45,000-square-feet fitness club will be a tremendous asset to the area, according to Matthews, who said it is too premature to identify the new health club tenant near Trafalgar Square.

"This is a high-end, nationally recognized chain," said Matthews. "We think the health club will be a great addition to the area and the strong economic climate already there."

In addition to the two separate buildings, the proposal includes utility and landscape improvements, regrading of an existing driveway, additional catch basins and new parking.

According to the proposed plans on file at Nashua City Hall, there will be about 880 parking spaces associated with the new development. A staff report written by Linda Panny, a city planner, indicates that the project does not meet the threshold for a full traffic impact report.

"With a net drop in the floor area, there is a minor net decrease in trip generation potential," wrote Panny.

An onsite sidewalk is being proposed, however, the developers are requesting that the Planning Board waive a requirement to construct a separate sidewalk along Amherst Street.

"Currently, there is no sidewalk system along Amherst Street in this vicinity, with limited pedestrian crossing control devices," states a memo to the Nashua City Planning Board.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at Nashua City Hall to review the proposal.
khoughton@newstote.com


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