Rochester city councilors have approved spending $270,000 for the purchase of land to help alleviate traffic buildup when gun manufacturer SIG Sauer moves to Crossroads Industrial Park.
Approved during Tuesday night’s virtual meeting, the money will be used to reconfigure the intersection at Amarosa Drive, Salmon Falls Road and Route 125 to improve traffic flow.
Councilor Doug Lachance voted to purchase the land at 8 Amarosa Drive and 0 Milton Road after expressing reservations.
“I think we really need to look long and hard at what we develop for a plan to improve that intersection, so we don’t impact our existing small businesses,” Lachance said.
City officials already have appropriated $200,000 for preliminary engineering and design, and the buildout could cost $2 million more, Lachance said.
Mayor Caroline McCarley said SIG Sauer officials have committed $500,000 to help pay for the intersection work.
McCarley said SIG Sauer has signed a letter of intent to purchase whatever land is not used for the intersection project at fair market value.
On Wednesday, McCarley said officials in Rochester have known for years that the intersection needs work.
“It’s poorly laid out, and it has been forever,” she said.
McCarley said they may consider a roundabout and will work with SIG Sauer to determine what might work best.
SIG Sauer plans to bring 150 employees from its Dover facility to 7 Amarosa Drive in Rochester and hire another 150 immediately, McCarley said.
Based on the contracts SIG Sauer is bringing in, a thousand people could be working there within four to five years, McCarley said.
SIG Sauer manufactures rifles, pistols, suppressors, optics, ammunition and air guns for military, law enforcement and commercial users worldwide.
Michael Scala, director of economic development for the city of Rochester, said SIG Sauer is positioning itself to become the city’s largest employer.
Scala said the land at 8 Amarosa Drive and 0 Milton Road is being purchased from a family and is currently undeveloped. He expects the deal will close within the next couple months.
SIG Sauer is acquiring a campus with three buildings on more than 35 acres.
The former Stonewall Kitchen site will have up to 210,000 square feet of usable space.
In November, the Executive Council voted to give SIG Sauer a $21.1 million state loan guarantee to help it move manufacturing operations from Dover to Rochester.
Business Finance Authority officials said at the time that the agency reserves loan guarantee financing for existing New Hampshire employers with strong financials.
SIG Sauer will pay back a $19 million revenue bond and a $2.1 million loan over the course of 10 years before taking ownership of the property.