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Panera Bread, Verizon Wireless store to replace Denny’s in Salem plaza

Union Leader Correspondent

February 15. 2018 12:36PM
The new building will have more modern architecture, developers said. (Courtesy)

SALEM -- A plan to tear down a long-time Denny's restaurant and replace it with a Panera Bread and Verizon Wireless retail store won conditional approval earlier this week.

Plans for the Panera Bread at 92 Cluff Crossing call for seating for 150, 30 of which would be outside. The location will have a drive-thru that can hold up to 8 cars without interfering with traffic, though developers expect only half the number even during peak hours.

The Panera would employ about 50 workers in shifts of 12 to 14 workers. The Verizon Wireless store will employ about 15.

Tssues town planning staff initially had with the plan, including traffic flow in the site and signage, were resolved. Landscaping will be used to shield the back of the building from the road, according to plans.

Denny's has been a local landmark for about 60 years, according to its website.

The new tenants are meant as a way to update not just the building, but the overall makeup of the plaza itself, say developers.

“While Denny's has been one of the longest operating tenants in the center,” said Chris Simonella of Kimco Realty, who owns the plaza, “we believe the highest and best use for this location is to upgrade the building and tenant mix to closely align our property with the ever changing retail landscape.”

The new building will be 7,700 square feet with architecture that matches the other anchor stores in the 345,000-square-feet Rockingham Plaza.

Simonella said they are working to lease the vacant Shaw's Supermarket space, which closed in Feb. 2017, to a new business.

“I promise I will when I can,” Simonella said when asked who that new tenant might be.

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