By Doug Ireland
---- — SALEM — What was the longtime home of The Green Barn restaurant only four months ago has become the site of a major retail complex.
Workers were busy Thursday constructing walls, raising roof trusses and removing concrete forms at the corner of Hampstead Road and Main Street. They are building a CVS pharmacy and Haverhill Bank branch in a new 22,000-square-foot shopping center where the popular German restaurant once stood.
A 5,445-square-foot restaurant and four other business locations also are planned. Construction has yet to begin on those businesses. Each retail space is between 1,000 and 1,800 square feet.
The Green Barn was razed this spring after closing its doors March 24. The restaurant, a former dairy barn at 5 Hampstead Road, had been in business for 42 years.
Owner Carl Bohne, who ran the restaurant with his wife, Margaret, said they planned to reopen this fall at one of two possible sites in Salem.
Bohne said Thursday the restaurant’s relocation was on hold, but noted “nothing has changed.” He has insisted the restaurant — one of the oldest in town — would remain open and said he hoped it would stay in Salem.
“There’s a lot of possibilities,” Bohne said. “We’re still looking at them, but we are taking some time to spend with family.”
Bohne declined to comment on the possible locations.
The plaza project is being built by developer Ken Thur II, a group that includes local architect Richard Landry Jr. Bohne said they will lease the space in the plaza.
The project is expected to create at least 50 full-time and 50 part-time jobs, according to Bohne, and include major safety improvements at the busy intersection.
Work on the 13,000-square-foot pharmacy began Memorial Day weekend and is expected to be done by late September, according to CVS project supervisor Rick Gonneville. CVS is being built by PM Construction of Saco, Maine.
Crews were erecting metal walls and raising trusses for the new pharmacy Thursday, battling 90-degree heat as they worked.
The project is on schedule, despite torrential rains and extreme heat in the last few weeks, Gonneville said.
“We’re fighting the weather,” he said. “We were getting rain twice a day. Now, we’ve got the heat and it’s slowing people down.”
Work only recently began on the new bank, according to project supervisor Larry Bird of Maple-Leaf Construction in Nashua. Workers were busy taking down concrete forms used to pour the building’s foundation.
The bank is to be finished by late October, Bird said.
Bohne’s parents, Bill and Francis Bohne, bought the former Shermer Farm property in 1969 and started a delicatessen. The restaurant opened in July 1970 and the Steinkeller Lounge nine months later.
The former barn was constructed in 1880 and rebuilt after being struck by lightning and burning in the 1940s, according to Bohne.