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April 24, 2014

Developer goes to court over Woodmont access road

Access road dispute means project could be halted

LONDONDERRY — The developer of the projected $1 billion Woodmont Orchards project is in court, alleging breach of contract in a legal dispute with Demoulas Supermarkets Inc. over a proposed access road.

Pillsbury Realty Development LLC is asking Rockingham County Superior Court to grant a real estate attachment of $22.5 million for property Demoulas owns in 12 cities and towns in New Hampshire, including Londonderry, claiming it could expect to recover at least that much through a legal judgment.

“The reason we sought the initial attachment is because this is a New Hampshire matter and our only recourse is against Demoulas’ assets in New Hampshire,” said Concord attorney Daniel Luker, who is representing Pillsbury.

Pillsbury filed the lawsuit last month; the supermarket was formally served April 3 and has 30 days to respond.

Tewksbury-based Demoulas, owner and operator of the Market Basket stores, had not filed a response as of April 15.

The supermarket company did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Pillsbury maintains that Demoulas has breached a May 2011 agreement to cooperate in the design, construction and funding of an access road that will serve the supermarket’s Londonderry store and Woodmont Commons.

Woodmont Commons is a planned 625-acre development, expected to unfold over 20 years near Interstate 93, that would create a village concept combining businesses, residences, hotels, gardens and open space.

In the lawsuit, Pillsbury claims it has been unable to lay out or begin permitting and pre-construction work for the access road, a process that takes six to eight months.

The developer said this construction season already is lost and without action soon by the supermarket chain, next year’s season could be lost as well.

Pillsbury warns the whole project is in jeopardy.

“Plaintiff’s inability to move forward with the access road also imperils the project approvals, which will expire in October 2017 unless plaintiff commences ‘active and substantial construction’ of the project in accordance with the Master Plan,” the lawsuit said.

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