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PORTSMOUTH, NH-After securing a key environmental permit, construction of a proposed mixed-use complex at one of New England’s busiest interchanges is a step closer to reality. The owners have retained locally-based Kane Co. as development advisor and leasing agent of nearly 40,000-sf of retail space planned for the 18-acre parcel. The $40 million venture includes a 120-room Staybridge Suites Hotel and four pad retail sites ranging from 2,000 to 7,000 sf.

“We’re very excited to be able to work on this project,” Kane Co. broker Jody Skaff tells GlobeSt.com in announcing the appointment. “We expect it is going to be a complete success.” Preliminary interest is one reason for Skaff’s confidence, as well as the undeniably golden location, which overlooks a traffic circle where Interstate 95, Route One and the Spaulding Turnpike converge, yielding a collective daily traffic count of 100,000 vehicles feeding directly into the circle and a similar amount driving on ancillary roads. The activity balloons during the summer months from tourists heading to Maine, with the border to that vacation hotspot barely one mile away.

“It has superb access and visibility,” acknowledges Skaff, who is handling the leasing assignment with colleague Vanessa Rozier. Other areas bordering the traffic circle have previously been developed into such uses as a state liquor store, multiple motels and restaurants. Although the marketing campaign is just now getting into full swing, Skaff says one national restaurant chain has already signed a letter of intent to build on the largest pad site, and reports that the remainder are generating multiple bids.

Owned by a local auto dealer, the site has been the home of the Meadowbrook Inn for 30 years. The motel would be demolished in favor of the Staybridge Suites and the retail, including one block of 21,000-sf of in-line space where the Meadowbrook presently sits. The in-line portion is sub-dividable, says Skaff, who anticipates widespread interest for that space as well.

Efforts to contact officials at Meadowbrook Inn Corp. were unsuccessful, but Skaff says the goal is to begin site preparation by winter, followed by a fast-track construction in order to open by next autumn. Although final planning board approval is still weeks away, the biggest hurdle came in winning the environmental permit. Some have expressed concern about the project’s proximity to an adjacent waterway that inspired the Meadowbrook name, but city officials concluded a mitigation plan provided by site engineers from VHB will be adequate. “We’re very close,” Skaff says of getting final approval.

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