Traffic study and more detailed plans to come for Exit 13 mixed-use project

  • An updated conceptual design drawn up by TFM, a civil engineering firm, shows a wide range of buildings along almost a half-mile of the river. Courtesy—TFM

Monitor staff
Published: 7/22/2021 2:09:25 PM

Developers of a mixed-use project along the east bank of the Merrimack River have more work to do before their massive proposal is ready for approval.

On Wednesday, the Concord Planning Board accepted a conceptual plan for the site near Exit 13 on I-93, with more specific plans to come after a traffic study and additional feedback from city planners.

Back in 2019, the City Council approved an amendment to the zoning ordinance changing the designation of the former Concord Drive-In Theater location to a Gateway Performance District, allowing developers to build both residential and commercial buildings there.

“We then had something called the COVID pandemic and took a time out, but now we’re back,” said Ari Pollack, an attorney representing the landowners.

Developers had to complete a Comprehensive Development Plan for the project located off Manchester Street, a step that comes before more detailed site plans. T

One of the next steps is a traffic study, which Pollack said consultants have already started.

Phase 1 of the project is expected to include 266 housing units in five buildings, and a combined gas station, car wash, sandwich shop and convenience store. Later plans call for a grocery store, medical office building, restaurant, assisted living facility, and independent living townhomes.

“It’s really an amazing opportunity to activate what has been a somewhat neglected area of the city,” Pollack said.

City Planner Heather Shank said that the board anticipates more changes to the concept for the complex multi-use project.

“A traffic study is being completed now,” Shank said. “There will be other conversations after that traffic study occurs that we will continue to have with the applicant.”

The planning board postponed a public hearing, which will eventually be held on a more specific version of the concept. A date is yet to be set for that hearing.

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