Penacook supermarket could finally be coming true along with two roundabouts

  • master plan for Whitney Road TFM—Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 2/14/2021 6:07:05 PM

After more than a decade of discussion it looks like all the pieces are nearly in place to bring a supermarket to Penacook along with not one, but two roundabouts.

“The goal is to have the roadway substantially complete by end of 2021 so the development on the private (land) would be able to proceed,” said Deputy City Manager Carlos Baia. But he noted that this schedule is far from certain.

The next step will be a March 8 public hearing before the City Council about whether to place the proposed development near Exit 17 inside a tax district known as TIF, designed to help the city make payments on $4.2 million in bonds for the roadwork, which is estimated to cost $4.78 million all told. Road construction could begin as early as April if everything proceeds smoothly.

The proposed development would be anchored by a Market Basket supermarket and a state liquor store. It includes several stand-alone buildings for shops, restaurants or medical offices as well as a distribution warehouse out back. Under the proposed schedule, some stores would open in 2022 and everything would be finished by the middle of 2023.

Although some details will be determined by the contractor, the proposal involves three major road changes. It would replace the current stoplight intersection of Hoit Road and Whitney Road with a large roundabout; would build a small roundabout on Whitney Road to lead into the development; and would shift the entrance to the ramp that leads onto I-93 southbound from Hoit Road, which is also state Route 4.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation has long wanted to adjust the ramp because the current configuration does little to slow cars leaving Hoit Road, causing what officials say are dangerously high speeds on the ramp and while merging onto the highway. The new ramp would start closer to I-93, requiring a sharper turn off Hoit Road that will force vehicles to slow down, Baia said.

The development would be placed on a portion of a 42-acre plot owned by Laurie and David Rauseo, near the Wheelabrator trash-to-energy plant. The site currently holds a gas station and convenience store, which would remain. The Rauseos, of Canterbury, developed the Concord Crossing industrial park at 2 Whitney Road and have long wanted a retail-oriented development on the stretch of Whitney Road adjacent to Hoit Road.

Early plans were stymied when the city placed size limits on this parcel in 2008 so it wouldn’t compete with attempts to lure a supermarket to downtown Penacook around the site of a former tannery. After those plans fell through – apartments have been built at the tannery site – the size limits were lifted and development plans proceeded.

“The community for years has wanted a full-service supermarket in the Penacook area. This allows it ... and creates more tax generation in the area,” said Baia.

The biggest complication has long been who will pay for road improvements, mostly because Hoit is state-owned but also because the border with Canterbury is so close that some of the Hoit Road improvements will take place in that town.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)


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