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Concept design for Salem's Tuscan Village development conditionally approved

Union Leader Correspondent

January 02. 2018 9:30PM
The 170-acre Tuscan Village project is split up into two parts: the 120-acre parcel on the southern end and a 50-acre parcel on the northern end. (COURTESY)

SALEM — Town planners have granted a conditional approval to the conceptual design of the Tuscan Village project while developers and town staff work out the specifics of how it will be managed once completed.

“We’re all looking forward to moving this project forward as fast as we can,” said Selectman and Planning Board representative Gary Azarian.

Tuscan Village is a 170-acre development that will consist of housing units, commercial space, restaurants, entertainment venues, and business and medical offices. It’s being built on the former Rockingham Park property and an abutting piece of land.

Town officials are working with the project managers to come up with a development agreement.

“There are some things ... we think need to be discussed further,” said Town Manager Chris Dillon.

The agreement would designate who is responsible for maintenance and upkeep for parts of the project, such as roads. Once that plan is finalized, it will be sent to the Board of Selectmen for approval.

Another part of the project that will continue to be reviewed is traffic impact and mitigation. With the proposals already set to help solve that issue in ways such as improving intersections, Steve Pernaw, the traffic consultant of the town, said he’s confident there won’t be any huge issues, as long as everything is done.

Though the conditional green light has been given to the project as a whole, each part will still need to go through the site plan process before it can be built.

Work is already underway on some of the projects already approved by the Planning Board, including a few of the townhouse and apartment structures. Construction is expected to begin in the coming months on a shopping plaza on the 50-acre plot on South Broadway, between Central, Pleasant and Main streets, known as the North Village.

The plaza will have stores such as Market Basket (the third location in town), Ulta Beauty, HomeGoods and Sketchers. Restaurants and a drive-thru coffee shop are also part of the plans.

The project is expected to generate $1.2 million in net tax revenue for the town and $6 million in net tax revenue for the schools.

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