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Osram Sylvania site plans call for restaurant, storage units, retail use

New Hampshire Union Leader

April 23. 2018 9:17PM
Developer Dick Anagnost gives a tour of a retail center being built on the site of the former Osram Sylvania plant on South Willow Street in Manchester. Anagnost Companies and Brady Sullivan Properties teamed up to complete the $20-$25 million project. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER Workers put finishing touches on the facade of the new retail development at the former Osram Sylvania site on South Willow Street in Manchester. The renovation added 122 windows and doors to brighten the 200,000 square feet inside.

MANCHESTER — A former light bulb factory is getting a bright new life.

The former Osram Sylvania plant on South Willow Street will feature a restaurant, stores, a health club and 800-plus storage units.

“What we kept were the bones of a building — the steel and concrete — all the good stuff that would be expensive to replicate,” co-developer Dick Anagnost said during a site tour Monday.

Two real estate titans — Anagnost Companies and Brady Sullivan Properties — teamed up on the joint venture, slated to cost between $20 million and $25 million, according to Anagnost.

“When I’d drive by on the outside, I have to remind myself this is the Osram Sylvania plant,” said Dan Scanlon, a commercial real estate agent with Colliers International not connected to the project. “Now, it looks from the outside like a retail center.”

Scanlon called the project “an interesting adaptive use of the old Osram plant.”

Osram Sylvania announced in March 2014 it was closing the Manchester plant and laying off 139 employees.

The developers did some cosmetic surgery to the building, which was acquired in late 2015.

They demolished an L-shaped addition to provide a more airy look and added 122 windows and doors to brighten the 200,000 square feet inside.

Plans for 655 S. Willow St., just north of Wendy’s and near Nutts Pond, call for retail uses on the building’s south and east side with a restaurant in the northeast corner with a view of South Willow Street.

A health club will be built on the west side farthest from South Willow Street, with a mix of retail and self-storage on the north side.

“I kind of think that the wave of new development is a mixed use of some type,” Scanlon said.

He and Anagnost both noted that national retailers are shrinking their physical footprints.

Scanlon cited the former Sports Authority on the same street that was “cut up” into several new stores, including Guitar Center, which opened last month.

Anagnost said two national companies are interested in all 800-plus self-storage units. A national restaurant chain also is in talks to locate at the site.

He expects the building to be completed in August, with businesses opening in November.

The 17-acre site also includes three other buildings, totaling 100,000 square feet dedicated mainly to industrial uses. One of the three is vacant.

Anagnost said his company did the permitting and site work and the building’s exterior, with Brady Sullivan doing all the interior and management duties. Anagnost said they have teamed up on projects before, including 100 housing units in Laconia and a building on the grounds of Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

Representatives of Brady Sullivan couldn’t be reached Monday.

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