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Southern NH Medical Center unveils plans for expanded parking area

Union Leader Correspondent

March 13. 2017 9:48PM

NASHUA — As part of the hospital’s ongoing expansion plans, Southern New Hampshire Medical Center will be constructing a larger parking lot on its campus.

Last week, the Nashua City Planning Board approved plans for the parking lot at 24 Dearborn St. and 11 ½ Prospect St.

Combined, the two lots span about 1.6 acres, according to Jim Petropolis of Hayner Swanson, Inc. Once merged, the two lots will enable an existing parking lot to expand and provide a total of 146 parking spaces within the hospital’s campus.

“This is part of our planning process,” Scott Cote, vice president of facilities and emergency management for Southern New Hampshire Health, told the planning board.

Having additional surface parking lots within the downtown campus will enable the facility to plan for the next several decades, said Cote.

City planners approved a conditional use permit to allow the parking lot in a residential zone. An existing structure that previously housed a medical office building will be razed to allow for the construction of the expanded parking lot.

Throughout the past 20 years, SNHMC has added several parking lots to its campus, according to Petropolis, adding they are designed to help with pedestrian safety and improve under-utilized space.

With the organization celebrating its 125th anniversary, Cote said it is imperative that the hospital plan for future growth.

“I suspect we will be expanding,” he said, adding the hospital’s master plan includes a future parking garage with about 500 spaces.

An existing parking garage already on the SNHMC campus is at full capacity during daytime hours, explained Cote.

The newly expanded parking lot will include not only more parking spaces, but also new curbing, sidewalks, fencing, landscaping and lighting, according to the plans on file at Nashua City Hall.

Construction of the larger parking lot is set to begin in the spring of 2018, but could potentially take place sooner, said Petropolis.

Two years ago, aldermen approved a lease agreement attempting to resolve a parking dispute over city land at the Main Street and Hollis Street intersection being used by SNHMC for overflow parking on its campus.

The agreement enables the hospital to continue leasing a city-owned parking lot behind the CVS Pharmacy at a cost of $48,000 a year for 15 years. The agreement contains a provision that the property may be purchased by SNHMC for a price of $720,000 with credit for all rental fees.

However, the option to purchase the city-owned land is conditioned upon the hospital redeveloping the site with a future multi-story parking garage, medical office building or similar improvement. In return, the hospital is subleasing a portion of the parking lot to CVS.

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