Two new grocery stores are being planned in the Gate City on abutting parcels along Daniel Webster Highway.
Patel Brothers is hoping to open a 72,400-square-feet Indian marketplace at 292 Daniel Webster Highway, the former JCPenney Home Store site.
And an undisclosed national grocery store chain is looking to open a 44,600-square-foot facility next door at 272 Daniel Webster Highway at the former Toys ‘R’ Us location. Although the architectural drawings for this project depict an identical facade to Amazon Fresh, the tenant is not yet being revealed.
“It is intended to be a national chain that is working its way into the area and moving up into this area. I am not at liberty to disclose the name of the brand at this point,” said Tom Burns, senior project manager with TFMoran, the engineering firm overseeing the project.
A media representative with Amazon did not immediately respond to an inquiry seeking additional details on Wednesday.
Burns introduced the plans for the grocery store at 272 Daniel Webster Highway to the Nashua City Planning Board last week. Members expressed concerns about the traffic along the Daniel Webster Highway corridor — especially with two new grocery stores being proposed.
Robert Bollinger, planning board member, said it is frustrating when the applicant knows who the tenant is, but can’t discuss it, explaining traffic could be altered depending on what type of grocery store tenant will occupy the site.
“There is already Market Basket. There is already Shaw’s. There is already Whole Foods,” said Bollinger. “My only concern would be whether or not there is a potential for regional draw here.”
The applicant, Nashua 272 Realty Ventures LLC, is willing to contribute $6,200 toward the DWH traffic corridor fund to assist with potential traffic impacts, according to information provided to city planners.
“I am really concerned about the traffic situation there … we could have a traffic generator that is huge. We have no idea,” said Lawrence Hirsch, planning board member.
Scott Leclair, chairman of the planning board, said the traffic flow within the Webster Square plaza has been an issue for quite some time, but he stressed that the problem is with the owner of the development, not the future tenant.
The board continued the proposal for the undisclosed grocery store to its Feb. 4 meeting, asking that more information on traffic impacts be shared with city officials.
Similarly, the proposal for the Patel Brothers Indian marketplace at 292 Daniel Webster Highway was also continued to the Feb. 4 meeting so that additional traffic information can be gathered.
“In that part of Nashua right now there are three supermarkets,” said Michael Pedersen.
He said if both of the new grocery store proposals are adopted, there will be five. This needs to be considered in traffic reports for each of the two proposed stores, according to Pedersen.