The “new” Farragut Hotel, seen in 1987, was built on Ocean Boulevard in Rye to replace the original, which was torn down in 1975, but it was never occupied and stood empty for more than 20 years before being torn down in 2003. (Union Leader file)
The Farragut Hotel: A landmark to Demoulas, Market Basket conflict
Rye granted Valley Properties a permit to pour a foundation in November of that year. The following year, work began on a 95-unit structure.
The other big difference was the original Farragut had reservations and guests.
“It was never finished, never occupied,” Herlihy said. “It was a brick envelope that sat there for 24 years.”
“My understanding was it was because of dispute in the family that went way back,” Epperson said.
When residents added their comments to the town’s 1986 master plan, the Farragut property and over development ranked high on a list of concerns.
And the building codes that were in place back in the late 1970s were all updated. Without ever being completed, the new Farragut needed to be renovated.
While that small makeover was underway, a reporter from the Portsmouth Herald asked Demoulas family member Michael Kettenbach why the project was never completed. Kettenbach said indecision on the part of the town, the beach district and the owners were to blame.
Herlihy said that today the site is a well-maintained lush, green carpet. And while the site is one of the most valuable pieces of land on the Seacoast, the Demoulas family has never offered even a glimmer of hope to potential buyers that the acreage is for sale.
Both sides of the family were mum Thursday on any developments in the fight for control of the Market Basket chain. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said they seem to be at a “critical point.” The parties had set a deadline of today to make a deal.