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New Hampton Tedeschi closes over landlord dispute

NEW HAMPTON — About two years after Tedeschi Food Shops opened six new stores north of Concord, the company has closed one of them. The Route 104 store near Exit 23 closed because of a dispute between the store and its landlord.

On Monday, the 189-store company based in Rockland, Mass., had workers disassembling the Tedeschi signs outside the building and removing the store’s products from its shelves.

Tedeschi spokesman D.J. Orr said the chain was forced to leave the New Hampton location because the building’s owners failed to meet a June 30 deadline set by the state’s Department of Environmental Services to upgrade the property’s underground gas pipes to accommodate gas made with ethanol.

Because the deadline passed and the pipes had not been upgraded, the Tedeschi store would have been violating state orders by selling gas beyond July 1, Orr said.

“The landlord needed to upgrade the piping and they didn’t,” he said. “We’re not going to have our name on a store that disappoints our customers because we can’t sell gas.”

DES spokesman Jim Martin confirmed that the building’s principal owner, Investment Property Specialists of Marlborough, Mass., had been given a deadline of June 30, 2012, to submit plans to upgrade the underground storage and pipe system. The state had set a deadline of June 30 of this year to have the work complete.

Martin said the company missed last year’s plan submission deadline and instead submitted plans on June 17, just 13 days before the state had ordered that the pipe upgrades be completed.

The submitted plans will be considered for approval, but it will likely take many weeks to go through the process, he said.

Investment Property Specialists’ Katherine Wellington said the state did not tell Tedeschi Food Shops to stop selling gas at the New Hampton store, and likely would not have. State officials usually take time in studying such plans, and as long as plans are filed, “they usually don’t go around red-tagging stores.”

Tedeschi officials, she said, came to IPS “unilaterally” last week and said it planned to close the store.

“Tedeschi’s is trying to negotiate to get out of their lease with us,” she said. “We rebuffed that suggestion. We want to support the New Hampton site and see that store succeed.”

Orr noted that a new Tedeschi store is scheduled to open in Moultonborough in the coming months.


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