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April 11. 2013 11:49PM

Planners OK expansion at Gateway Hills in Nashua

NASHUA - City planners on Thursday approved the construction of a new retail building and roadway expansion at Gateway Hills, which will jumpstart the second phase of residential development at the large industrial park.

Last summer, the John J. Flatley Co. broke ground on two medical buildings, a retail strip and bank at the former Nashua Technology Park, now being called Gateway Hills, located off Exit 1 of the F.E. Everett Turnpike.

The Tara Commons project is coinciding with the construction of Tara Heights, an upscale apartment complex being built in the Gateway Hills community. The multiple projects are designed to provide a uniquely integrated residential and commercial complex within the city, according to engineers.

On Thursday, the Nashua City Planning Board was presented with further development projects at the 400-acre site, including the construction of a fifth building - about 6,360 square feet - to be used as a retail store and restaurant.

The developer also proposed an expansion of Innovative Way to allow for future residential development at Tara Heights. The board approved a conditional use permit and subdivision, giving developers the green light to move forward with both plans.

The first phase of Tara Heights, which was previously approved by planners, is comprised of 180 luxury apartment units, while the second phase includes an additional 240 units of one- and two-bedroom apartment homes.

The multi-million dollar development will feature upscale apartments with amenities such as an outdoor swimming pool, clubhouse, playground, recycling center, garages, maintenance building, new access drive, emergency access road, 300 parking spaces and recreational area.

"We are designing phase two at this point," said Chad Banon, engineer with Fieldstone Consulting of Milford.

New site modifications include an extra 42 parking spaces, a drive-through window and minor improvements to drainage, lighting and landscaping designs, according to Banon.

No one spoke in opposition or in favor of the newest plans on Thursday. Richard Cane of the John J. Flatley Co. told city planners that two additional projects will be forthcoming at the industrial park, including a large building to house an undisclosed research and development company. He expects those plans to be introduced in about four or five months.

Cane said it is important to move forward with the fifth retail building and the roadway expansion to enable other future projects to move forward. Cane stressed that the plans require developers to build a series of pedestrian crossings to accommodate employees and residents within the complex.

Although the restaurant was originally proposed as a Dunkin Donuts, Cane explained it will no longer be occupied by the large-chain coffee shop, but instead a cafe that will serve meals, coffee and pastries.

On Thursday, city planners were also expected to be presented with separate plans from Renaissance Downtowns, LLC, but that agenda item was not presented as of press time. Those plans include major development on a 10-acre site on Bridge Street. Renaissance Downtowns is proposing the construction of three, four-story multi-family residential buildings totaling 228 units, along with a commercial building, restaurant, community center, courtyard, park, community pool and more.



khoughton@newstote.com