By Doug Ireland
---- — LONDONDERRY — The state Liquor Commission announced plans yesterday for a 9,000-square-foot liquor store at the new Londonderry Travel Plaza off Interstate 93.
Construction of the New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlet is scheduled to begin later this month and open by the end of the year, according to the commission.
The plaza, located at 137 Rockingham Road near Exit 5, received final approval from the Planning Board on Wednesday night, Town Manager Kevin Smith said.
The plaza will also be home to Red Arrow Diner and Sunoco Travel Center, including a 3,000-square-foot convenience store and 19 fueling stations.
The new liquor store and other businesses in the plaza will provide a tremendous economic boost to the community, Smith said.
“It means great news for the town of Londonderry,” Smith said. “These are the kinds of things that help bring economic development. It makes it more attractive for other businesses to move into that area.”
Smith was among about 20 state and local officials who attended a press conference along I-93 in Windham Wednesday in support of efforts to guarantee continued funding of the 20-mile interstate widening project between Salem and Manchester.
The public officials, led by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said completion of the project is crucial to boosting economic development in Southern New Hampshire. The work includes development of Exit 4A in Londonderry.
The new 3,000-square-foot, 63-seat restaurant will be the third Red Arrow Diner location in New Hampshire, according to owner Carol Lawrence.
The other two diners are in Manchester and Milford. The Rockingham Road property is owned and being developed by Aranco Oil Company Inc. of Concord.
“People will be going to Exit 5 now to get something to eat or shop at the liquor store,” Smith said.
The plaza will be only about 100 yards away from a 240-unit residential complex recently approved by the Planning Board, Smith said. Half of the units will be workforce housing, he said.
“You are going to see even more growth in that area,” he said.
Liquor Commission Chairman Joseph Mollica said the liquor store will help increase state revenues.
“We view the Londonderry Travel Plaza site as a tremendous growth opportunity as the exposure to thousands of vehicles traveling along Interstate 93 will introduce more customers to the value and selection available at New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlets,” he said in a statement.
The commission has renovated and relocated 15 of its 77 stores in the last few years to boost revenues. They include stores in Hampstead and Plaistow.
The commission has also announced plans to replace its nearly 50-year-old store on South Broadway in Salem with a new building. The store had the fourth-highest sales in the state a year ago, grossing $23.3 million.
The success of the Salem store helped the commission set a state record for sales in fiscal 2013, with $603.5 million.
It was an increase of nearly 7 percent over the previous year. Mollica said sales so far this fiscal year are outpacing last year’s by $17.5 million.