EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 5, 2013

Salem plaza project gains momentum

The Green Barn would move, but stay open

By Doug Ireland
direland@eagletribune.com

---- — SALEM, N.H. — Plans are moving forward to build a 22,000-square-foot shopping center at the site of The Green Barn restaurant.

Developer Thur Ken received a variance Thursday from the town’s Zoning Board of Adjustment and will go before the Planning Board for a public hearing Tuesday.

If approved, the shopping center would be built at the corner of Hampstead Road and Main Street. It would include a 13,000-square-foot CVS pharmacy, a bank, restaurant and two other businesses, town planner Ross Moldoff said.

But the 19th-century building — a former dairy barn — is expected to be razed and the popular restaurant relocated, owner Carl Bohne said.

If the project is not approved, The Green Barn will remain where it’s been for the last 42 years, Bohne said.

Ever since plans for the project were announced last summer, customers have asked about the restaurant’s future.

“We reassured them we’re staying open, which we are,” Bohne said yesterday. “They have been very good to us.”

But it’s premature to speculate whether the business will stay at 5 Hampstead Road in Salem or move, he said.

“It’s far too early to tell,” said Bohne, who runs the restaurant with his wife, Margaret.

Bohne has said construction of the plaza would allow him to maximize his property’s potential and improve his restaurant. The widely recognized name would not change.

The Bohnes would continue to own the property, along with Thur Ken, and rent out the buildings. The project would create at least 50 full-time and 50 part-time jobs, he said, and include major safety improvements at the intersection of Hampstead Road and Main Street.

The zoning board has granted several variances for the project, Moldoff said. The latest, approved unanimously Thursday, involved setbacks for the bank, he said.

The hearing before the Planning Board was continued from Nov. 27. There were issues with the CVS design, which did not conform with town planning regulations requiring a residential-style building, Moldoff said.

“It was more of a strip-style building,” he said.

Project representatives could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Only one resident has expressed concern with the project, Moldoff said.

Vasilios Papaefthemiou, 60, of 3 Hampstead Road said he supports the proposal, but has concerns about how it would affect his property.

He is especially concerned about traffic, drainage, lighting and trees to be put in between his home and the plaza. The newly planted trees are to serve as a barrier, he said.

“But I’m going to die before they grow up,” he said.

Papaefthemiou said he needs two sump pumps to keep water out of his basement. He’s afraid digging at the site will cause further problems.

“I might end up having a swimming pool in my basement,” he said.

Papaefthemiou said he is also concerned about lights from the plaza shining on his home.

The Green Barn is one of the oldest restaurants in Salem. Bohne’s parents, Bill and Francis Bohne, bought the Shermer Farm in 1969. They started a delicatessen, specializing in sausage and smoked meats.

The restaurant, which specializes in German cuisine, opened in July 1970.