Price Chopper: Manchester store replacement 'on hold'

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MANCHESTER — Remember how the owners of the Price Chopper shopping plaza at 263 Depot St. were planning to build a new, larger supermarket on the property?

Property owners Crosspoint Associates are still hoping to sign a lease with Price Chopper and move forward with the plan to build a new store, Kerry A. McCormack, the director of development for the company, told a group of residents and planners on Friday.

But the company that owns Price Chopper said that's not happening soon.

"Replacement plans are on hold," Golub Corp. spokeswoman Mona Golub told the Banner on Monday when asked about the Manchester project.

When asked what might move the project forward, Golub offered no additional details other than her statement. Nor did she expand upon it when told the owner/developer had offered hopes of moving forward.

Monday, Tricia Hayes, a spokesperson for Crosspoint Associates, said the developer "has always planned to have a supermarket on that site and upgrade it with more square footage more parking and greater customer access."

When asked if that might be another supermarket other than Price Chopper, Hayes said "Crosspoint does a lot with bringing in various supermarkets in towns they work in. They know what a supermarket needs."

Last spring, Crosspoint obtained a state Act 250 environmental review permit allowing it to demolish the western portion of the plaza, build a larger supermarket of about 40,000 square feet in its place, and improve the remainder of the shopping center.

Golub Corp. operates 134 markets in six states, including one on Northside Drive in Bennington. The company is in the process of updating its Price Chopper stores to its new Market 32 brand to make them more modern and contemporary. In the past two years it has closed two stores in neighboring Berkshire County, Mass. — one in North Adams, and another in Lee.

The Price Chopper on Depot Street is one of two supermarkets in Manchester, as Shaw's operates a store on Equinox Terrace.

On Friday, McCormack presented an impromptu update on the proposal from the sidewalk on Depot Street near the shopping plaza, during a walking tour led by consultant Juli Beth Hinds of Orion Planning + Design and Manchester planning officer Janet Hurley. The tour was part of a two-day planning charrette attended by local residents and members of the Northern New England chapter of the American Planning Association, which was holding a conference in town.

The conditions of Crosspoint's Act 250 permit came with costs, McCormack said, including a 10-foot retaining wall behind the plaza to stabilize the slope leading to the West Branch.

Second, a pair of plaza tenants have moved out, including Eastern Mountain Sports, which was leasing about 9,000 square feet of the shopping center. Remaining tenants include Olympia Sports, Sherwin Williams, China City and Village Picture Show.

"We're trying to get the lease [with Price Chopper] that we need to go forward with the project," McCormack said. "The state put some modifications on us [through Act 250] that changed some of the economics of the project. When you combine that with the lease, it's kind of stalled. But we are continuing to press forward as hard as we can, and we hope to move the project forward shortly."

McCormack didn't have a time frame for work to begin, or a total monetary value of the project.

Crosspoint Associates will not need to obtain a new permit from the town, but will need to amend its existing permit to reflect the agreed-upon changes under Act 250, Hurley said. The amendment would not require a public hearing, she said.

Reach Journal editor Greg Sukiennik at 802-490-6000.


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