MANCHESTER — An application for a 360-seat microbrewery and restaurant is making its way through the permitting process in what could turn into what is thought to be the largest of its kind in the Northshire.
The company that owns the Hampton Inn & Suites in Manchester, Manchester Hotel Associates II LLC, plans to build a 360-seat microbrewery and restaurant at 4595 Main St., right in front of the Hampton Inn. The plans call for a 10,600-square-feet building with 230 indoor seats and 130 outdoor seats.
The company has an application working its way through the Manchester permitting process.
Janet Hurley, the town’s planning and zoning director, said the project might not advance as quickly as some might hope because of the scope of the project.
“It’s huge,” Hurley said. “This is the biggest thing that’s been proposed since the Hampton [Inn] went in.”
After going through the Design Advisory Committee on Sept. 29, the application is currently in front of the Development Review Board, which took testimony Oct. 6 where it was continued.
There will be a site visit at 5 p.m. on Oct. 20, followed by reconsideration by the DAC to look at the changes. Once the DRB signs off, the town will grant a permit, but the state’s Act 250 process will still have to take a look at the project.
Hurley said the Design Advisory Committee discussed the building’s appearance and suggested making it look less like a “barn” and more of a “mill” style building.
According to minutes from the Sept. 29 meeting, committee member Ramsay Gourd told the applicant he was “not sure that a barn should be at the front of a Main Street lot.”
The applicant said the structure was intended to be a “nod to the marble mill industry.”
The design was tweaked to play up the mill building features and make it look less like a large barn.
That change in design requires the project to go back through the Design Advisory Committee.
Hurley said the town’s administrative advisory group, made up of the town manager, members of the fire department, rescue squad, and department heads from public works, water/sewer, the town engineer, the economic development officer and others looked at the project and had no major issues with it.
Hurley said the brewery will have to create a system for pretreating effluent because of its waste water’s high yeast content and the town having a treated lagoon wastewater treatment system.
“It’s very sensitive to oxygen load and various inputs that affect biological systems,” Hurley said. “There will be some pretreatment on site for brewing yeast.”
Another issue that was identified is the access off Main Street. It’s currently a one-way driveway and there is a request to make it two way while the Administrative Advisory Group wants to keep it one-way.
Following the DRB’s public hearing, the board will hold a deliberative session and then issue a written decision.
“If the DRB approves, that’s it for the town,” Hurley said.
At the Development Review Board meeting Oct. 6, the board heard a conditional use, site plan and design review for the microbrewery and restaurant with a waiver request.
The applicants described the structure as traditional New England architecture with an effort to complement the Hampton Inn structure, while tying into the architecture of the historic village and newer structures, such as the Manchester Community Library.
Concerns expressed included noise during construction, which will be limited to Monday through Saturday and not start before 8 a.m., with an eight to nine month construction schedule.