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Liquor commission gives contract to company that will build warehouse in Bow

A new warehouse will be built along Route 3A in Bow as part of a 20-year contract between the New Hampshire Liquor Commission and Exel Inc.

News of the project comes at the perfect time, town officials say, because taxpayers started paying off a $12.5 million bond on a new water and sewer system this year. The new system was pitched as an improvement that would draw in more commercial development, and town officials say the warehouse plan is proof that the money was well spent. It will be located on the east side of the Route 3A corridor between Johnson and Dunklee roads, and will be more than 200,000 square feet.

“The timing couldn’t be better because it does show at least the taxpayers and people in Bow that the investment will pay off,” said David Stack, Bow’s town manager.

The liquor commission announced the 20-year warehouse services contract Tuesday, and it will take effect in November 2013. It comes as the commission’s contract with Law Enterprises in Nashua ends. The new contract was competitively bid, and Exel, an Ohio-based company, provided the most cost-efficient services, said Craig Bulkley, chief of administration at the liquor commission.

The warehouse will house the majority of the state’s liquor and will supply and distribute it to retailers across the state. The contract with Exel is expected to save the commission $3 million, which will hopefully translate into $4 million in savings for consumers and businesses.

The 50,000-square-foot warehouse on Storrs Street in Concord will also stay in service. Together, the two buildings will house and manage more than 10,000 units of alcohol.

Giving the contract to Exel will provide more long-term stability, better cost control and an overall reduction in costs to suppliers and customers, Bulkley said.

The warehouse will employ about 50 people, which could include new employees or some employees who worked in Nashua, he said.

The building will be owned and operated by Exel, not the state, which means the town can collect property taxes on it. The parcel of land is 14 acres and currently houses an old storage facility that hasn’t been in use and will be torn down.

It’s impossible to say exactly how much revenue it will generate in taxes, but it will likely have one of the town's higher property tax bills, said Jack Crisp, a Bow selectman. As of now, residential property owners pay the majority of the taxes in Bow, which is why the town has been trying to attract more commercial development. The water and sewer project was first approved back in 2002, and construction began in 2010. But payments just kicked in this year, with taxpayers financing an $80,000 bond payment this year that caused a 14 percent increase in taxes.

The water system and Bow’s proximity to Interstates 89 and 93 were two key factors that made the town a good location for the warehouse, Stack said. If the water system didn’t exist, no one would build such a large building because a sprinkler system couldn’t be installed, he said. That’s just one example of a direct correlation between the water system and an interest in development, he said.

Exel will have to submit a site plan to the planning board, which will also likely include a parking lot merger, Stack said.

Town officials hope the Exel warehouse draws even more attention to Bow and encourages other companies to build there.

“Once you start getting (development), you start to attract more projects,” Stack said. “A lot of times people don’t want to be the first one to put their toe in the water.”

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or kronayne@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @kronayne.)

In a previous version of this article, Selectmen Jack Crisp's analysis of the building's effect on taxes was misstated. The warehouse will have one of the town's higher property tax bills, but it's impossible to predict its effect on other people's taxes at this time.

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