Engineers propose urban, modern design for Merrimack Park PlaceBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
January 19. 2018 4:09PM
MERRIMACK — Engineers for the newly proposed mixed-use development at the entrance to Merrimack Premium Outlets told the planning board on Tuesday that they have designed an urban, modern project with a unique layout and a $50 million price tag.
“This is far from vanilla, boxed-type architecture. The idea here is to do an enlivened streetscape with exciting architecture that is of varying heights and movement in the facade of the building,” said Gordon Leedy with VHB.
The proposed project, dubbed Merrimack Park Place, includes a Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott hotel and event center, 192 apartments and restaurant, retail and office space.
In total, the project consists of six buildings, with four of those structures proposed to be five floors, and 900 parking spaces.
“The model here is kind of a modified version of Portwalk (Place),” Leedy said, comparing the Merrimack project with the existing Portsmouth development that includes hotels, restaurants and residences.
Designed with an urban street atmosphere, Merrimack Park Place will be truly unique, said Leedy.
“I don’t think there is anything quite like it in New Hampshire, which is pretty exciting,” he told the planning board, adding the proposed development will be more modern than Portwalk Place and anything else that has been attempted in the Granite State.
The project will be developed in phases, if approved. The second phase, which is not yet being considered by town planners, includes a large 60,000 square foot office building and a multi-level parking garage.
“This will not all happen at once,” he said. “It is going to take probably several years to build this out.”
According to Leedy, the proposed project is valued at about $50 million, and is expected to generate more than $1 million in annual taxes for the town.
Town planners had their first opportunity to view artist renderings of the six buildings proposed for 10 Premium Outlets Boulevard this week; The Monahan Companies previously acquired the 20-acre parcel for the project.
The first building is five levels with retail and restaurant space on the bottom floor and the 120-room hotel occupying the top levels of the structure. The second building is three levels with retail and restaurant space on the bottom floor and office space on the second and third levels.
Three other buildings are all five-level structures with a combination of retail, restaurant and upper level residential units with 71 apartments in one building, 56 units in another building and 65 in another, according to the site plans. And, the last building is the smaller, 2,000-square foot building for restaurant and retail use.
Barb Amaral of 1 Spruce St. said she is concerned about the site lines and the buffer between the new development and her neighborhood. She also worries about blasting during the construction phase, parking problems during peak times and the amount of water that will be required at the site.
“This is our home,” echoed Beth Burns of 5 Spruce St., who urged the developers to keep a large buffer between the existing homes and the new apartments.
The planning board will continue its review of the proposed site plan; no vote was taken on Tuesday.