January 21. 2014 9:13PM

Hobby Lobby will open store in Seabrook

Union Leader Correspondent

SEABROOK — Hobby Lobby will open its second New Hampshire store in a new shopping center planned for Route 1.

The Oklahoma-based national arts, crafts and home décor retailer has announced plans to occupy space in the 145,000-square-foot Seabrook Crossing being built at 21 Chevy Chase Road at the intersection of Route 1 and Provident Way.

Hobby Lobby has a store on South Willow Street in Manchester and 588 stores across the country.

Goodwill will also open a store in the center along with Bob's Discount Furniture, which is planning a new expanded two-story concept with an increased selection of home furniture, according to Josh Levy of Waterstone Retail Development, a Massachusetts company building the new shopping center.

Hobby Lobby, Goodwill, and Bob's Discount Furniture are the only tenants announced so far, Levy said.

Talks are under way with other tenants, which include a hibachi restaurant.

Levy said Waterstone is working with a number of local and national restaurant and retail operators.

"We have truly appreciated the feedback of the community for what they would and would not like to see, and we continue to work closely to meet the needs of the community and complement the existing retail in the market," he said, adding that the project won't include a grocery store.

Construction will begin this spring with a grand opening by the end of the year.

The Seabrook Crossing site is an "ideal location" because it sits in front of a new Walmart store and complements the existing retail around it, Levy said.

The number of new jobs expected to be created by the project and its tenants will be several hundred when factoring in the retail jobs and the construction workers, Levy said.

"And we are encouraging our retailers to offer local hiring preference," he said, adding that Waterstone Retail always prefers local New Hampshire vendors and subcontractors.

Meanwhile, Levy said Waterstone is working closely with town officials to design a "pedestrian-friendly, well-thought-out project that also benefits the long-term traffic management goals of the Route 1 corridor, including cross connections to adjacent parcels and fits in with the character of the community."

Levy said Waterstone is committed to southern New Hampshire. The company recently built a West Marine store on Route 1 in Seabrook and the Brickyard Square shopping center in Epping.

Waterstone is also redeveloping the Southgate Plaza on Route 1 in Portsmouth and has announced plans for a new development in Rochester — adjacent to Walmart — that will feature a movie theater, apparel and specialty stores and restaurants.