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August 07. 2014 9:31PM

F.W. Webb eyes Merrimack site for warehouse

MERRIMACK — F.W. Webb Company has entered into a purchase-and-sale agreement to buy a 64-acre parcel along the Daniel Webster Highway that could eventually house a large warehouse facility.

F.W. Webb, the largest plumbing, heating and HVAC distributor in New England, has preliminary plans to possibly construct a nearly 1 million-square-feet distribution facility near the St. Gobain Corp. in Merrimack, where a separate mixed-used development project is now in the works.

The John J. Flatley Company currently owns 149 acres near 707 Daniel Webster Highway, which includes the 64 acres being sought by F.W. Webb, according to developers.

F.W. Webb has entered into a purchase-and-sale agreement with the Flatley Company to buy the plot, however the purchase has not yet been finalized, according to Kevin Walker, a civil engineer with the Flatley Company.

Walker told the Merrimack Planning Board this week that once the sale is closed, F.W. Webb hopes to eventually build a 970,000-square-foot warehouse distribution facility with offices.

Kevin Flight, media communications representative for F.W. Webb, confirmed Thursday that a purchase-and-sale agreement has been signed.

“The company still needs to seek approval from a number of agencies. This is by no means a done deal, but F.W. Webb is seriously pursuing it with the intent of expanding its operations,” Flight said in a statement.

The facility, if approved, will be part of a major development project being proposed in Merrimack that includes 240 future apartments, retail and industrial space.

While the details of the F.W. Webb project are still premature, the separate mixed-use development being planned by the Flatley Company is moving forward.

This week, conceptual plans for the project were introduced to local planning officials who will eventually vote on whether to grant a conditional-use permit for the proposed development.

The project includes five residential buildings for a total of 110 one-bedroom apartments and 130 two-bedroom apartments, along with a clubhouse, pool, tennis courts and playground.

A 242-seat restaurant is also being proposed, along with 120,000 square feet of industrial space with a high-bay area and 296,000 square feet of commercial space that will include an undetermined “big box” store, according to Chad Brannon of Fieldstone Land Consultants in Milford.

“This may change to some degree as the site gets marketed and users become evident,” said Brannon, adding future tenants have not yet been determined. “It is difficult to project exactly how this project will be developed.”

The mixed-use development will include internal trails, walkways and open space, according to Brannon, who said it will be similar to other Flatley projects in Nashua.

Brannon told the planning board that Flatley would like to move forward with at least the first phase of its own development — the residential apartments.

“The apartments will draw in retailers,” explained Brannon.

Planning officials expressed concern over some of the parking layout, and the idea of building retail and commercial space that could eventually sit empty without tenants.

“There is a niche there,” said Brannon, adding Flatley has a strong marketing department to attract future users.

According to its website, F.W. Webb has more than 77 locations in eight states, and employs more than 1,700 employees.

If the Merrimack location comes to fruition, it would be the company’s 11th facility in New Hampshire, according to its website.

khoughton@newstote.com



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