Lack of Road, Infrastructure Send Development Elsewhere

Town Manager Kevin Smith told the Town Council at their last meeting that businesses have gone elsewhere because Pettengill Road was not completed.
He cited a new development along Route 114 near the Bedford Village Inn, noting a Copper Door Restaurant, an assisted living facility and a medical office.

“All of that was slated for Pettengill Road,” he claimed. “The developers who had a hand in that have a hand in Pettengill as well. They wanted to bring that to Londonderry but because the road is not built, and because of the time frame in dealing with bringing business into the area, they have to go with what’s available. That land was available in Bedford before Pettengill was available. Londonderry missed out on that opportunity.
“The longer we wait as a town to try to get this road built, the more opportunity for development we’re going to miss out on,” Smith said.
Smith’s words, according to developer Alex Vailas, are right on the money.
“There was no way we could bring business or any other development to Pettengill Road and still have to build a 1,000-linear-foot, five lane road, and that doesn’t include water and sewer,” he said. “It’s just not feasible, so we had to go where the land and infrastructure are already there.”
Vailas said he still wants to develop the proposed Pettengill Road extension.
“It’s perfect for business because of the airport, close by major roads, like 93 and 293, and its proximity to Londonderry as well as a major city like Manchester, but you can’t do it in today’s economy without the infrastructure being there,” Vailas said.
Vailas said a couple of years ago a Marriott Residence Hotel and restaurant were interested in the area because of the proximity to the airport. He said that project couldn’t go forward because the infrastructure wasn’t there.
“We approached Kevin now that Londonderry had a new Town Manager and said that we’d like to be able to bring in business to the area, and we suggested that maybe building something incrementally until it could happen, maybe a few hundred linear feet with infrastructure, would allow us to start putting something in there,” he said. “Kevin was very supportive – he asked what we needed and what help we needed to bring development forward.
“Basically it has to be done incrementally or there has to be some kind of partnership with the town, like a TIF (Tax Incremental Financing district) that would allow developers to bring the businesses into that area,” he said.
The Town Council approved a TIF for the Pettengill Road area last week.
“It is a great location, it’s just that it’s not cost effective for developers to cover everything,” Vailas said.

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