By Doug Ireland
---- — DANVILLE — The site of a proposed $100 million shopping plaza and retirement community on Route 111 is back on the auction block.
Months after two previous auctions were called off, the 49-acre property is up for sale again. The auction, to be conducted by James R. St. Jean Auctioneers of Epping, is scheduled for May 1 at 11 a.m.
People’s Bank has foreclosed on the property and decided to sell the land, according to developer Vincent Rizzo of Plaistow.
Rizzo, owner of Ozzir Properties, proposed a large retail complex, expected to attract at least a dozen businesses and create more than 550 jobs. Rizzo was close to receiving final town approval when the project came to a halt last year. Trees had been cleared and construction was to begin this spring.
Rizzo said he was disappointed the bank foreclosed on the property.
“We put a lot of time and work into it,” he said. “It was a good project. We thought it would do really well — it was good for the community and everyone. It’s a shame to see these jobs go down the drain.”
The 50,000-square-foot Crown Plaza proposal called for construction of a restaurant and lounge, a midsize grocery store, dry cleaner shop, Chinese takeout restaurant, pharmacy, a gas station and convenience store on 37.7 acres.
The adjacent 300,000-square-foot retirement community, The Royal Crest of Danville, was expected to serve more than 200 people at the 11.3-acre site.
The project, which included a medical clinic, received conditional approval from the town Planning Board in September 2011. The two properties are assessed at $216,900.
The two previous auctions — Aug. 2 and Sept. 27 — were called off as Rizzo tried to block foreclosure proceedings. He had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manchester.
Rizzo has said he made loan payments to the bank, but it would not grant his extension requests. In one case, Rizzo said he asked for a year’s extension, but was given six months.
He said he owed about $1.2 million and the bank wanted immediate payment. People’s representatives have refused to comment.
Danville officials have said they are disappointed the projects fell through.
Ozzir worked closely with town officials, including selectmen and the Planning Board, for more than two years, according to Selectmen’s Chairman Shawn O’Neil.
They had spent dozens of hours reviewing the proposals, he said.
“The town put a lot of time into this,” O’Neil said last summer. “I thought it would be a great project for the town.”
Bidders are expected to put down a $25,000 deposit and finalize the sale within 45 days.