SALEM, N.H. — When restaurateur Joseph Faro announced Monday that he closed on the sale of the former Rockingham Park property, it wasn't the only major transaction to take place.
After purchasing the remaining 120 acres of the 170-acre racetrack for $40 million, the Tuscan Brands CEO then sold part of the property to the Market Basket grocery store chain for $15 million, according to documents filed with the Rockingham County Registry of Deeds in Brentwood.
A deed shows that Demoulas Super Markets Inc. bought 26.7 acres of the racetrack site, Register of Deeds Cathy Stacey said. The track, which used to draw up to 50,000 people on race days, closed Aug. 31 after 110 years.
An upscale Market Basket store is just one of many features proposed as part of Faro's residential and commercial development of the property that he said in a statement Monday would be the largest mixed-use complex of its kind in New England.
It's compared to MarketStreet in Lynnfield and would include pedestrian-friendly boulevards and serve as a vibrant community center where Faro said residents of Salem and surrounding communities could gather for seasonal celebrations, festivals and holiday events.
The town center-style development, known as The Tuscan Village, would sport 1.4 million square feet of retail space along with a 150-room luxury hotel, banquet facility, restaurants, movie theater, bowling alley and other entertainment options.
Faro, a Haverhill native and Windham resident, is best known as the owner of Tuscan Market in Salem and the growing Tuscan Kitchen restaurant operation.
The new grocery store would be constructed as part of the first phase of the project, or what Faro calls Tuscan Village North — "an innovative supermarket and retail village."
It would be located on part of a 50-acre site purchased from the park's owner, Rockingham Ventures Inc., and president and general manager Edward Callahan.
Tuscan Village North would also feature a new Ford dealership along with The Villas at The Tuscan Village — 100 luxury townhouses — and a 256-unit high end apartment complex and clubhouse.
The store's architecture would be consistent with The Tuscan Village "look and feel" and be Market Basket's newest upscale addition with a sushi bar, prepared foods and a cafe, Tuscan Brands spokeswoman Amelia Sutton said.
But Salem already has two Market Basket grocery stores only a short distance away at 167 S. Broadway and 265 S. Broadway. Sutton did not know if they would be affected by construction of a third store.
She referred inquiries to Demoulas Super Markets, but operations manager David McLean could not be reached Tuesday for comment.
The newly purchased 120 acres would offer dining and retail options provided by local, regional and national operators, an organic supermarket and an entertainment complex, Faro said.
That's where the movie theater, family entertainment, upscale bowling alley and other entertainment facilities would be located, according to the proposal.
The second phase also features office space, the 150-room hotel and 200 additional luxury apartments above the village's main boulevard. There would also be the Tuscan Villa Banquet & Events Center, an expanded Tuscan Market a, new Tuscan Kitchen restaurant and several other dining facilities, including an Italian steakhouse and casual Italian sports bar.