Market Basket could open at Exit 17 in Penacook by 2021

  • Construction is expected to start in 2020 on a new Market Basket off Exit 17 in Penacook with a targeting opening in 2021. Jonathan Van Fleet—Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 11/1/2019 5:38:54 PM

The negotiations are over and the announcement made – the new supermarket coming to Penacook off Exit 17 of I-93 will be New Hampshire’s favorite grocery chain, Market Basket.

Construction of the new 80,000 square foot store could begin in 2020 with doors opening by 2021.

But there’s a catch: The development is contingent on intersection improvements at Route 4 and Whitney Road. Such roadway improvements are necessary, as Route 4 carries over 20,000 vehicles per day, the developers said.

The intersection of Whitney Road with Hoit Road, which is state-owned Route 4, has been discussed for years but has gained increased importance with the news that developers Laurie and David Rauseo landed a supermarket for their 43-acre parcel.

“Traffic engineers (say) it currently is at or above capacity and some sort of improvements are necessary today,” David Rauseo said recently. Adding a large retail center would turn it into a hopeless snarl, which is why city planners say it must be upgraded.

Which supermarket was coming to the site wasn’t known until Friday, although many hoped it would be another Market Basket, which would be the city’s third.

The complication for the intersection improvement is that Route 4 is a state road. For years Concord has been trying to get an intersection upgrade included in the state’s Ten-Year Highway Plan, without success. The city put $100,000 into the latest Capital Improvement Plan for designing an upgrade, which Deputy City Manager Carlo Baia said in a report to the City Council “is necessary if the city wishes to see additional tax-generating private development along Whitney Road.”

Various ideas have been put forward for the intersection over the years, including adding traffic signals or turning it into a roundabout. A traffic study is currently being done for the developers; its results will guide the next moves.

“The state has no plans to participate financially in this deal, so we still have to figure out what the development partners would be. The town of Canterbury is right there – they might participate,” said Baia. “But we’re at the pretty nascent stages of that process.”

Staff says the intersection work could not be completed until the fall of 2021 at the earliest.

The overall plan for the commercial plaza calls for 200,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, banking and medical uses as well as a warehouse building.

After the city rezoned the area along Whitney Road, it opened the door for the Rauseos ​to pursue a large tenant like a supermarket, one of the things Penacook residents have long asked for. The Exit 17 site has municipal water and sewer, access to I-93, and high traffic counts, which makes it attractive for commercial development.

Once construction is underway, it will be one of the largest developments in central New Hampshire, the developers said.

The public can follow the project on Facebook at facebook.com/supermarketatExit17.

(Staff writer David Brooks contributed to this report.)




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