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Concord’s Integra Drive won’t get warehouse – for now

After successfully petitioning for a zoning change to build a warehouse off Manchester Street in Concord, owners of an Integra Drive property will not enter into agreements to construct a large warehouse complex on the site – at least not yet.

An initial proposal from a local company to the New Hampshire Liquor Commission included a liquor warehouse at 15 Integra Drive. It is not clear from proposal documents whether Distributech LLC had committed to build the warehouse in Concord if it was awarded the 20-year contract, but the Liquor Commission awarded the contract last month to a different company that will build a warehouse in Bow.

The purpose of the planned warehouse and the company behind it were not publicly revealed when the city council approved zoning changes for the Integra Drive property in June. Attorney Richard Uchida, who represents the property’s owners and requested the zoning changes, said yesterday that his clients had been in discussions with Distributech about the property but were unable to release details while the Liquor Commission’s bidding process was in progress.

“Finally the world’s able to sort of put two and two together there,” Uchida said yesterday.

Although a liquor warehouse is not coming to Integra Drive, the zoning change to allow for industrial park use in addition to office space will also apply to future development on the site. Uchida said the property’s owners, the McCarthy family of Massachusetts-based McCarthy Properties, are looking into other development options for the site. James McCarthy is listed in a state filing as manager of 15 Integra Drive LLC, which purchased the 55-acre property last year for $890,000, according to appraisal records.

“I wish we could tell you we had another big warehouse sitting right on the horizon, but at this point that’s not the case,” Uchida said.

Deputy City Manager for Development Carlos Baia said city officials are disappointed that the project did not come to Concord, but “the property itself is still prime real estate” and is more attractive to other developers with its new zoning.

“The property made sense to be rezoned whether it was going to be that warehouse or another possible use,” Baia said.

Any large project on the site will still need to go through the city’s site plan review process, which includes a public hearing with the planning board.

Although Baia had learned that the warehouse would be more than 300,000 square feet and bring 150 jobs to Concord, he said he did not know its intended use was a liquor warehouse until the Liquor Commission revealed proposal details and awarded the contract last month.

After hearing about the Liquor Commission’s plan to award a warehouse contract, Baia said city officials had suspected the proposed project would be a liquor warehouse.

As is typical for large projects, Baia and other city officials met earlier this year with designers for the company that planned to build the warehouse. But he said the design team did not reveal their client company or the intended use for the warehouse. After a few meetings, Baia said he did not hear again from the company.

“This is probably the process that was the most cloaked in confidentially that we’ve ever dealt with, at least since I’ve been here (working for the city),” Baia said.

Distributech LLC was one of five companies bidding for a 20-year warehousing contract, according to proposals released by the Liquor Commission. The Liquor Commission awarded the contract last month to Exel Inc., an Ohio-based company that plans to build a 200,000-square-foot facility in Bow.

Michael Goclowski, listed as Distributech’s manager in its proposal documents, declined to comment yesterday. Goclowski lives in Hopkinton and is a consultant for Worldcom Exchange, specializing in online ordering contracts for liquor and beverage companies, according to Distributech’s proposal. Distributech’s attorney, Steven Lauwers of the Concord firm Rath, Young and Pignatelli, also declined to comment about the company’s proposal.

The Liquor Commission is currently facing legal action from Law Warehouses Inc., which had submitted a proposal to build a liquor warehouse in Nashua. Law Warehouses filed a petition asking that the Liquor Commission respond to its numerous Right-to-Know requests and release information about the bidding process, according to a release from the company.

Two other companies also submitted proposals to build warehouses in Merrimack: Hat Trick Logistics – made up of New Hampshire Distributors, Bellavance Beverages and Clarke Distributors – and Philadelphia-based XTL-NH, Inc.

(Laura McCrystal can be reached at 369-3312 or lmccrystal@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @lmccrystal.)

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