A sixty million dollar retail development project is on its way to the Queen City. Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas and Economic Development Director Will Craig joined developers Dick Anagnost, Arthur Sullivan and Shane Brady at the former Osram Sylvania plant on South Willow Street for a press conference yesterday to make the announcement. Anagnost of The Anagnost Companies, and Brady and Sullivan of Brady Sullivan, announced they’d formed a partnership to purchase and develop the three hundred thousand square foot building on seventeen acres.
Sullivan noted that several retailers have either announced they’re coming to Manchester, like Aldi’s or expanding like Michael’s and Wal-Mart and also mentioned that the soon to be former Wal-Mart building just off South Willow St. was under agreement, to express confidence the development would succeed.
Anagnost referred to South Willow Street as a “Retail Mecca” and said the project could land an anchor tenant of up to one hundred thousand square feet with several smaller tenants to round out the yet to be named mall. Anagnost projected the renovations would provide between fifty and one hundred construction jobs, but was unable to project the number of jobs that would be provided by the tenants.
He said current traffic controls, site access and five hundred car parking are sufficient for the proposed use, but that the project will require a zoning change, which he expects will be on the agenda for the November meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. The change will make the parcel, currently zoned for industrial uses, consistent with the surrounding commercial zoning.
Assuming all goes well with the zoning change and various regulatory steps the proposal must go through at the Planning Board, they hope to break ground this spring and complete the project in time for Christmas shopping next year.
In remarks made during the conference, Gatsas praised the project and thanked the developers for demonstrating their faith in the city by undertaking it.
Alderman at-Large Dan O’Neil and Ward Twelve Alderman Keith Hirschmann were on hand for the announcement. O’Neil told Girard at Large that the project was quote “fantastic for the city” and praised Anagnost and Brady Sullivan, whom he said were two of the city’s premiere developers. Hirschmann said it was great project to develop the tax base. Once finished, the project’s expected to generate one point two million dollars in new tax revenue.
Also after the press conference, Gatsas and Sullivan discussed nearby Nutts Pond. Gatsas asked Sullivan if they would look into what they could do to restore it to the fishing and swimming hole he used to visit as a kid. Sullivan agreed to look into it.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Things got prickly at last night’s town hall mayoral forum featuring Mayor Ted Gatsas and rival Alderman Joyce Craig. It was the sixth and final joint appearance between the two, which might be why Craig decided to bring prepared notes and props. Gatsas called her out on it after she interrupted him during an answer he was giving in response to a question about bus service. Interrupting the other candidate is also against the rules, but Craig did that on multiple occasions, including when Gatsas was calling her out for violating the no props no notes rules, which she said didn’t exist.
In her answer to the question about city bus service, Craig said the most heavily used bus was the Green Dash because it was free. She also said that public bus service in Dover and Hanover enjoyed heavy ridership and that they were also free to riders. She suggested the city offer buses free for public use as a way to increase ridership, stating it would only cost the taxpayers two hundred fifty thousand dollars to eliminate fares paid by riders.
The prop she used was her daughter’s math book. In a previous forum, she complained that her daughter didn’t have a math book as evidence the schools didn’t have what they needed to educate students. At a subsequent forum, Gatsas revealed that he’d inquired of the school superintendent about why Craig’s kid didn’t have a book and was told that the daughter’s math book simply hadn’t been passed out by the teacher. Craig’s new complaint about the math book, which had duct tape on the binding, was that it was not being used because it was quote “ancient.” (Hm, didn’t realize that math needed to be updated to be taught!)
She brought out the book after Gatsas answered a question from a teacher about how the city would attract families who wanted to come to enroll their students in city schools. He cited the innovative changes he’d brought forward, such as the STEAM Ahead initiatives at the elementary and high school levels and the four year vocational technical high school at the Manchester School of Technology, initiatives which Craig dismissed.
Craig dodged questions asked about whether or not she’d be able to be objective in dealing with the city’s employee union contracts, which are under negotiation, given the tremendous support she’s received from them for her campaign. All she would say was that she was proud of all her endorsements, including from the pro-abortion Emily’s List, a national PAC.
Gatsas used the question remind the audience of Craig’s “have you checked with the unions” question proffered after he proposed auditing the city’s health and dental insurance plans audit to ensure that only eligible dependents were covered. He also shared how one of his best friends, Steve Schubert, didn’t talk to him for two years after he cast the lone vote against using government funds to redevelop the former McQuade’s Building on Elm Street as an alderman to prove that he did what he thought was best for the city, no matter who was involved or who had endorsed him. Schubert was one of developers on the project.
The tone of the debate hit a new low when Craig accused Gatsas of being a dictator and when, in reply to a question asking them to say something nice about each other, could only say that she believed Gatsas loved the city and said she’d have to stop there. Gatsas praised Craig for proposing to use surplus funds from an energy efficiency project to get new Columbine Locks for the schools, which he said he knew she loved, and that just because they’re opponents doesn’t mean that everything the other’s done is all bad.
Finally this morning, a memo to those in Goffstown who live along the rail trail corridor. Volunteers from the Friends of the Goffstown Rail Trail will be clearing leaves from the Manchester line to the center of town today and tomorrow from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Leaf blowers will be used, so expect some noise in your backyard!
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next!