DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

January 16, 2014

Milton CAT eyes North Londonderry property

By Julie Huss
jhuss@derrynews.com

---- — LONDONDERRY — Another large company hopes to call Londonderry home.

Proponents of a plan to build a new Milton CAT equipment facility on Industrial Drive gave an early look to Planning Board members at a meeting Jan. 8.

The Caterpillar equipment dealership began in Concord and has grown to 13 locations in six states. A Londonderry location would be its third in the Granite State.

Bradlee Farrin, corporate facilities manager for Milton CAT, gave board members preliminary details of what the company hoped would be a perfect fit for that part of town.

That area is zoned gateway business, an area that has distinct criteria for businesses to follow when planning a project.

“We’re just starting to see the first couple of projects under the jurisdiction of that district,” town planner Cynthia May said.

Farrin said the company is proud of its facilities and how they look. He said it’s early in the game to project just how big a Londonderry location would be, but said it could be up to 100,000 square feet for the complex.

“We still can’t commit yet to the size,” Farrin said.

There are still many details and things to work out, he said.

Farrin said other locations are “tired” and the new designs are attractive and would serve Londonderry well.

“We keep up our facilities,” he said.

As this was an early meeting between the company and planners, there is much more information to follow, Farrin said, including more details on how to manage building the facility safely within environmental restrictions of the town.

With big equipment planned on site, there would have to be many measures in place to ensure that safety.

“We have a whole spill prevention plan we have to follow,” Farrin said.

Planning Board Chairman Art Rugg said that zone in North Londonderry is not a “one size fits all” location. The Planning Board will have the opportunity to work with all who want to build there and make sure rules are followed prior to approval, he said.

“The zone was designed to be flexible,” Rugg said. “It will be good working with you people.”

Board members said it would be good to bring Milton CAT to town.

“I think it’s great,” Planning Board member Chris Davies said. “I think it’s what we are looking for up there.”

Board member Leitha Reilly said that part of town is perfect for this business.

“It would be a good fit for up there,” she said. “And the kids would love to go walk around and look (at the equipment). I’m looking forward to hearing more.”

Town Manager Kevin Smith said having a business like Milton CAT come to town would only continue to boost progress and development in that rich part of Londonderry.

“With thousands of acres still undeveloped, there’s no doubt in my mind that the area around the airport is going to take off with a multitude of new industry either moving to, or expanding there over the next decade,” Smith said. “Milton CAT’s decision to locate a new facility in this region is proof positive that the land in that area is a valuable asset to the town, which will provide jobs, additional tax revenue and continue to boost Londonderry’s economic growth for years into the future.”

Farrin said there is a lot of work to do before making Londonderry a new Milton CAT home. He said he looked forward to returning to the Planning Board to get the project moving.

“We want to keep this rolling if this is to work,” he said. “It’s doable and (we hope) to break ground this fall.”