Tourister mill plan will wait for now

Posted

It will be at least another month before the would-be developers of the old American Tourister mill formally ask for town permission for their project.

Officials from Brady Sullivan of Manchester, N.H. and Starr Development Partners of Belmont, Mass., the two development firms seeking to develop the mill into about 190 apartment units and additional commercial space, told the planning board earlier this month that they hoped to have a formal application ready for this month's planning board meeting, scheduled for this Monday, Oct. 28. But they did not make the application before Monday's meeting, meaning it will likely be submitted for the November meeting.

The developers have set an aggressive timeline for their development, hoping to break ground in early 2014 and have its first phase — mostly apartments — completed by mid-2015.

The firms say they plan to use historic tax credits to renovate the sprawling mill along the Warren River. The project would require the construction of a third floor atop the main mill building; several smaller buildings within the property would also be torn down.

Many key questions are still unanswered, however, including the firms' plans for the waterfront. Public access along the river was a major part of the previous plan for the property, but the current owners said they haven't decided if they will keep public access in their plans.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.