Pettengill Development Catalyst for Proposed Science Park

When Richard Flier moved to Londonderry to be near his daughter and grandchild, he expected to dial down his real estate development career.

He laughs about it now.

Flier, managing director of the Visionary Institute of Londonderry, is one of the partners in plans for New Hampshire’s first “Science Park,” to be located on 45 acres on Aviation Park Drive in Londonderry. The park will capitalize on the development activity of major corporations that have recently relocated in the Pettengill Road area, the expansion of Interstate 93, and what Flier calls “the greatest industrial development activity in New Hampshire.”

Flier’s partners in the initiative are the Manzo Company of Boston, Mike Manzo Jr. and Sr.; Bill Byrne; and developer Peter Nash.

“We realized with the airport and the new road system, it was the best location outside of Greater Boston for this type of development,” Flier said in a phone interview last week.

The partners had worked on a similar project in Kendall Square in Cambridge, Mass., with the goal of bringing together similar businesses in high-tech research, including agriculture, food and biotechnology. With their similar ways of thinking, people in these fields can share ideas and resources, according to Flier.

The Londonderry location is conducive to attracting the kinds of talent needed to staff these businesses, Flier added. And it’s close enough to the colleges and research facilities in Boston and Cambridge.

This would be the first development of this nature in the Untied States, though he’s seen them in Taiwan, mainland China and Israel, Flier said.

The property is currently being logged, and some trails are open so potential tenants can have a look, according to Flier.

The site could accommodate a building as large as 350,000 square feet, or several smaller buildings, Flier said.

But Flier and his partners also envision a facility or facilities that are environmentally friendly, and are researching how to preserve an area for endangered species and encourage the people who work there to get out and enjoy nature.

“We want to have ‘good energy,'” he said, noting that they are also looking into an anaerobic digester system, in which organic waste would be recycled and turned back into energy for the compound. A hydroponic pond is also on the drawing table.

The site is one of the few large parcels remaining around Pettengill Road, and it has town water, sewer and other utilities in place. “We are way ahead of the game in that regard,” Flier said.

They closed on the site eight months ago, he said, and are in discussions with several potential tenants.

Flier is a developer who has worked in Boston since the 1970s, but has also been involved in New Hampshire projects such as Hampshire Plaza in Manchester.

Will the widening of I-93 have an impact on Science Park? “That is why we’re here,” Flier said. “We weren’t even thinking about this area – but I-93 is a real catalyst. Easy access from Cambridge to Boston to Londonderry – it’s about as good as it gets.”

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