A proposal to turn a junkyard into a mixed-use development with housing and retail was presented to the Derry Planning Board.

The 5.5-acre property at 109 Rockingham Road is owned by Watt’s Auto Salvage Inc. and would be purchased and developed by Eric Spofford, the CEO of Granite Recovery Centers, who developed residential properties in other parts of Derry.

The plans include nine townhomes down Bedard Avenue, and a larger building closer to Rockingham Road with 5,180-square feet of retail on the first floor and 60 to 65 residential units on the second, third and fourth floors.

Though it’s inside the new West Running Brook District, which is zoned for mixed-use, the property is surrounded by single-family houses.

In December 2018, Derry fire investigators said a worker in the salvage yard using a cutting torch accidentally ignited fuel in the building, causing a blaze that destroyed the business, which was owned by Ryan Crete.

Developers of a proposed 12-acre mixed use development on Humphrey Road, which was first proposed in August, updated those plans with the board.

Two rows of 18 townhouses were given a country aesthetic. What was a single five-story garden-style apartment building in their August presentation was broken up into two separate buildings and reduced to four stories, with 72 units total, and designed with a row of gables along the top.

Designers also added two stories of residential on top of a building designated for retail storefronts, as board members suggested last August.

“In August they were basically showing us placeholders,” said Derry Economic Development Director Beverly Donovan on Tuesday. “Since then, they’ve been working on the architectural pieces of it.”

She said the developers last week added more detail on the 16,000-square-foot building for a potential restaurant and brewpub, lending it a red-barn style befitting a neighborhood with horse farms and historic colonial houses.

Developers intend to build out different sections in phases. They’ll return to the planning board for site plan approval.

Recommended for you