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118-room, 'first class' Nashua hotel wins unanimous city approval


NASHUA — Construction of a new, four-story hotel and separate standing restaurant was unanimously approved on Thursday by city planners.

Despite some concerns about additional traffic near Trafalgar Square, the Nashua City Planning Board authorized a conditional use permit and site plan for the new Residence Inn by Marriott, which will include 118 rooms.

Developer Robert Walker of Westford, Mass., is the applicant for the project, while KNT Associates is the existing owner.

"Obviously we are investing a significant amount of money here," said Walker, reassuring city officials that the property will be in tip-top shape. "This is a first-class facility, and I think everyone will be pleased once it is built."

Plans include a 26,425-square-foot hotel at 25 Trafalgar Square, in addition to a 6,000-square-foot restaurant with 225 seats.

"The development of the site is going to be a lot safer than what is there today," said Katie Enright, engineer with Hancock Associates of Chelmsford, Mass. The hotel, she maintained, will be an additional value and compatible use in the area off of Exit 8 where several other hotels are located.

The property at 25 Trafalgar Square, which is housed just behind the newly redeveloped Market Basket, has been vacant for more than a decade. In 2000, city planners approved a separate project for a six-story office building, but that project fell through just after the foundation was poured.

Alderman Richard Dowd, Ward 2, said he is pleased the 4.5-acre property will now be developed.

"Basically, I think people in the area are happy to see something go into this spot," said Dowd. "Certainly, Marriott is a good neighbor."

Still, Dowd relayed concerns from residents at the nearby Cannongate apartment complex about potential traffic delays at the nearby access road to the adjacent supermarket.

"That was the major concern," said Dowd.

A traffic engineer hired to study the traffic flow in the area reassured the Planning Board that traffic should not be heavily impacted once the new hotel is operational.

Walker, the developer, previously built a Residence Inn and a Hampton Inn in Westford, Mass. Walker is also the developer of Cornerstone Square in Westford.

The new hotel will be New Hampshire's seventh Residence Inn by Marriott. The closest Residence Inn is on the Daniel Webster Highway in Merrimack, and other sites are located in Concord, Lebanon, North Conway and two in Portsmouth.

No one spoke in opposition of the hotel plans on Thursday.khoughton@newstote.com

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