Proposed Loudon Road shopping center is ‘scaled-down’ version of 2008 plan
A new retail center could be coming to Loudon Road, as the city looks to complete a development plan that’s been stalled since 2008.
The 31,000-square-foot project developed by members of the D’Amante family would include retail and restaurant space, said Deputy City Manager for Development Carlos Baia.
The city and state governments own a combined 3.4 acres across from Steeplegate Mall, which they first sought to sell five years ago. A proposed 125,000-square-foot development went before the Concord City Council and the state Executive Council in 2008.
But plans fell through when the real estate market collapsed later that year, Baia said.
While the initial project would have included private land, Baia said the new, smaller proposal will fit on the state and city properties.
“They’ve come back with a much more scaled-down proposal, which still has a lot of positives to it,” he said.
Those positives include the relocation of Old Loudon Road, to make it perpendicular to the intersection of Loudon Road and D’Amante Drive, Baia said. The developers would complete the road construction, which Baia said will improve safety at the intersection.
The current intersection of Old Loudon and Loudon Roads would become a dead end, Baia said
The project will bring $3 million to $5 million to the city’s tax base, Baia wrote in a report to the mayor and city council.
Though it won’t expand the city’s tax base as much as the 2008 proposal, Baia said the new project is simpler. The developers planned to purchase 16 acres of private property to the north of Old Loudon Road, known as the Johnson Farm. The project would have spanned both sides of Old Loudon Road and required zoning changes. It also drew criticism from nearby residents, but the Johnson Farm isn’t part of the newer plan, Baia said.
“That is not in the cards at all with this project, so there is no rezoning,” he said.
Residents had concerns in 2008 about disruption on the relatively quiet Old Loudon Road, said Ward 9 City Councilor Candace Bouchard. She said many people expressed concern because they like to walk on Old Loudon Road and enjoy its wildlife.
“So this is much smaller,” Bouchard said. “So far it appears like the parts of Old Loudon Road will still be walkable for people.”
Bouchard said she hasn’t heard from concerned residents about the new plan, but the development process is just beginning.
“I’m just looking forward to seeing the details of the plans,” she said.
Tonight, the city council will vote to enter into a purchase-and-sales agreement with the Siena Bodwell Joint Venture Group. That development team includes the D’Amante Investment Group, Bedford-based Phoenix Realty and Bodwell Realty Investments in Dover.
Ray D’Amante told the Monitor in 2008 that he had “more interest in the site than we have space.” But Baia said the developers’ plans with tenants fell through with the economic downturn later that year.
Baia said he doesn’t know which tenants will occupy the space, though it will likely include a restaurant.
Members of the D’Amante family could not be reached last week.
If the project moves forward, Baia said plans would go before the planning board. Construction would likely start next spring, he said.
The sale also must be approved by the state, which owns most of the public land on the site. The city owns about 0.58 acres of the site. Baia wrote in a report to the city council that the developers will pay $955,000 – the appraised value of the state’s 2.7 acres – and will cover administrative costs for the city. To relocate Old Loudon Road, the developer will purchase nearby private property.