Broad Street site draws interest

By Kym Soper Journal Inquirer

MANCHESTER — There are at least 20 “serious anchor prospects” for the former Parkade site on Broad Street, and advanced discussions are taking place with 10 to 15 in an attempt to secure a letter of interest, officials say.

Kiran Marok of LiveWorkLearnPlay, the Montreal-based master developer on the project, told the Redevelopment Agency this month that her company identified 20 prospects out of 36 originally considered for a mixed-use development that includes a medical or education anchor.

There have been “face-to-face” meetings with these prospects, LWLP co-managing partner and founding principal Max Reim said, with the company receiving three to four calls a week from a “large medical advisory company” outside of Connecticut. There have also been a number of meetings with in-state prospects whose detailed questions indicate a substantial level of interest, Reim said.

LWLP would not tell the RDA who the interested parties are, however, as discussions are ongoing.

“It’s very exciting — it really is,” RDA Chairman Timothy J. Devanney said today. “But until they get down to the point of who it’s going to be, they really can’t talk about names.”

Devanney hopes a frontrunner will emerge in the next month or so.

LWLP has taken many of the prospective developers on tours of Manchester and heard glowing remarks, Devanney said.

Potential developers did question the lack of bus service on Broad Street and possible environmental conditions, Reim said.

While there are few physical barriers, town regulations limiting parking or research and development are a challenge, LWLP officials say. Also, the site along Green Manor Boulevard faces the rear loading docks and service areas of the adjacent shopping center, creating further design and aesthetic hurdles.

In the meantime, local architects Fuss & O’Neill have created two models of mixed-use development at the site to show what can be accommodated or allowed by zoning regulations.

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