DANVILLE — A 49-acre site, once the proposed location of a $100 million shopping plaza and retirement community, is expected to have a new owner soon.
That means plans for another development would be presented to town officials in the near future if the sale to the new owner closes by late April as expected, according to Hugo Overdeput of Colliers International real estate group.
Colliers International has been marketing the property on behalf of People’s United Bank, which foreclosed on the site nearly two years ago after Ozzir Properties’ plans for a major retail and residential complex fell through.
The property — made up of 37.7- and 11.4-acre parcels — was placed on the auction block in May and sold back to the bank for $560,000.
Overdeput said the land along Route 111 was put back on the market four months ago and there were five interested buyers, with most expressing interest in establishing commercial development.
Colliers advertised the property for $950,000 — or $19,348 per acre for the site, which is mostly wooded and sits on a hill overlooking the highway. Ozzir paid $1.4 million for the land in 2005, according to former owner Vincent Rizzo of Plaistow.
The two properties are assessed at $216,900.
Overdeput said he could not disclose the prospective owner or the sale price before the closing. He also said he could not reveal the type of development planned. Signs advertising the property as “available” still stood along the highway yesterday.
He did say the project would be much different than what Ozzir Properties proposed.
“All I can say is it’s going to be a different type of development,” Overdeput said.
Ozzir proposed a large retail complex that Rizzo said would attract at least a dozen businesses and create more than 550 jobs. It was a proposal town officials hoped would provide an economic boost to the community.
But some residents worried the complex would be detrimental to Danville’s small-town character.
The 50,000-square-foot Crown Plaza called for construction of a restaurant and lounge, midsized grocery store, dry cleaning shop, Chinese takeout restaurant, pharmacy, and a gas station and convenience store on the 37.7-acre plot.
An adjacent 300,000-square-foot retirement community, The Royal Crest of Danville, was expected to serve more than 200 people on the 11.4-acre site.
The project included a medical clinic, which received conditional approval from the town Planning Board in September 2011.
The proposed complex had been before town boards for several years and was close to receiving final approval when People’s began foreclosure proceedings. Construction was to have started last spring.
“I’m not sure Danville was ready for that type of project,” Overdeput said.
Rizzo was surprised and disappointed to hear the site was being sold.
He tried to block the foreclosure and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manchester. Rizzo said he made many loan payments to the bank, but encountered financial difficulties during the recession and People’s would not grant his extension requests.
“I went through a lot of money and a lot of time,” Rizzo said Monday. “We had over 500 jobs for that site. I will have to see what happens.”
Danville Selectmen’s Chairman Shawn O’Neil said previously Rizzo’s proposed development would have helped revitalize Danville. He said Ozzir worked closely with town officials and was cooperative.
“It would have been ideal,” O’Neil said Monday. “It would have brought a lot of good jobs to New Hampshire.”
He said he recently heard rumors the property was being sold, but no one has approached the town yet about a potential development.
The property is zoned for commercial and light industrial uses, and would be suitable for another retail or business complex, O’Neil said.
“I would like to see something move in there and offer some services to the community,” he said.