While Southern New England gambles on casino development, shopping centers are the game of choice in Seacoast New Hampshire. DDR Corp., Waterstone Retail and New England Development have all chosen to invest in major new ventures in the sales tax-free state, and they are expanding their horizons for locations, retail tenants and customers. Supporting retail development, housing activity continues to be robust in Rockingham and Strafford counties.
The latest Seacoast shopping center launch is Waterstone Retail’s Granite Ridge Marketplace, at exit 15 of the Spaulding Turnpike in Rochester, N.H. The development plans to capitalize on the Route 11 tourist corridor as well as the populations in the southern Lakes and northern Seacoast regions. (See sidebar below.) With Holiday Inn Express and multiple restaurants already in place, the Granite Ridge District shows great promise as a regional destination and attraction.
Combining customers of the Lakes and Seacoast regions, Rochester is a hub of development activity. The Spaulding Turnpike expansion involved an investment of $135 million and has transformed the six Rochester exits. Rochester Crossing by The Wilder Companies (exit 13) is anchored by Lowe’s Home Improvement, Kohl’s and PetSmart, and features Buffalo Wild Wings, GameStop, and Sally Beauty Supply. IHOP Restaurant will open soon. Spaulding Commons (exit 14), once known as the Globe Plaza, features a new facade with tenants Planet Fitness, Family Dollar and Little Caesar’s Pizza. CBRE is marketing 13 acres of former industrial space at exit 15 for a new commercial center. Rochester Market Place at exit 16, owned by Market Basket, will undergo an overhaul following a $2 million EDA grant for infrastructure to bring municipal sewer to the site. It is unknown how Market Basket’s internal turmoil may affect real estate holdings in New Hampshire.
In Seabrook, N.H., dueling projects will compete for Southern New England customers, but everyone will win with these two centers. Both centers are at exit 1, off I-95 just inside the New Hampshire border. Waterstone Retail’s 145,000-square-foot Seabrook Crossing promises big consumer savings with Bob’s Discount Furniture, a Goodwill store, and Hobby Lobby opening in September. DDR’s Seabrook Commons, which totals 380,000 square feet, features a new Walmart Supercenter, moved and expanded from its former Seabrook location, as well as Dick’s Sporting Goods, PetSmart, Michaels, Five Below and ULTA Beauty.
In Epping, N.H., WS Development developed Epping Crossing with Walmart Supercenter and Lowe’s Home Improvement in 2006, just prior to the recession. Brickyard Square, completed by Waterstone Retail this year, demonstrates the significant changes in retailer and consumer expectations during the intervening years. Compactness and intimacy are reflected in the center design, with stores and restaurants around a central parking field. A streetscape feeling comes from extra wide sidewalks with decorative lighting, outdoor seating and awnings. O’Neill’s 12-screen cinema is set back a bit, but overall there is feeling of walkability. Additional tenants include Market Basket, 900 Degrees Pizzeria, CVS, Michaels, Popovers, Marshalls, PetSmart and ULTA Beauty. Epping’s retail district is centered in the Route 101 and Route 125 corridors.
Across the region, major retail developers seek to meet consumers on new territory. Redevelopment or repositioning centers has been the primary retail activity for the past few years, hedging bets made before the recession. The investment in new shopping centers and new retail markets raises the stakes on economic recovery in Northern New England, and brings new developers and retailers into the game.
— By Karen Pollard, CEcD, EDP, Economic Development Manager, Rochester, New Hampshire. This article originally appeared in the June/July 2014 issue of Northeast Real Estate Business magazine.
Granite Ridge Marketplace in Rochester, N.H.
Waterstone Retail Develops 300,000-Square-Foot Granite Ridge Marketplace
ROCHESTER, N.H. — Needham, Mass.-based Waterstone Retail is developing Granite Ridge Marketplace at 92 Farmington Road in Rochester. The 300,000-square-foot shopping center will be a retail destination for Rochester and the surrounding cities, including Somersworth, Barrington, Northwood, Strafford, Alton Bay, Farmington and Milton, N.H.
Granite Ridge Marketplace will feature a mix of retailers, including a 12-screen cinema, retail anchors, restaurants and specialty stores. (The tenant roster had not been released at the time of this issue’s publication.)
Situated in the Greater Rochester retail district, Granite Ridge Marketplace will join a newly built 225,000-square-foot Walmart Supercenter and a variety of other big-box retailers, including The Home Depot, Kmart, Sears, JC Penney, Kohl’s, Lowe’s Home Improvement Center and PetSmart, as well as restaurants and specialty stores. The demographics of the area are strong with 185,835 people and 71,798 households within a 15-mile radius with an average household income of $73,713 in 2013.
The 943-acre, 2 million-square-foot district will comprise diverse retail, hospitality and entertainment businesses convenient to regional residents and visitors.
The retail district’s close proximity to the border makes it a huge draw for Maine residents in nearby cities, including Sanford, Lebanon, North Berwick and South Berwick, as they are able to enjoy New Hampshire’s tax-free shopping environment.
In addition to being a retail destination, the Granite Ridge Development District is bringing an economic boost to the ever-growing region. In May, Safran USA and Albany International Corp. opened a 345,000-square-foot facility at Granite State Business Park, which is just minutes from Granite Ridge Marketplace. The facility will employ 400 to 500 people in engineering and advanced manufacturing jobs. As a result of the new facility, the Greater Rochester area is expected to see more than 1,000 new housing starts in the near future.
Waterstone Retail is leveraging the experience it gained from its highly successful Brickyard Square, a 270,000-square-foot shopping center in Epping, N.H., to create a dynamic retail environment combining shopping, dining and entertainment. Leaning on its proven track record and expertise, Waterstone Retail’s Granite Ridge Marketplace is positioned to be a successful new additional to the Granite Ridge Development District, which has seen 700,000 square feet of new retail and commercial space.
Site work is already underway for Granite Ridge Marketplace, which is slated to open in October 2015.
— Amy Bigley Works