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Business Notes: Twin State Seeks Final Approval of 92-Acre West Lebanon Development

West Lebanon — Twin State Sand and Gravel is seeking final approval next week for the last stage of permitting for a 92-acre retail, office and industrial development on its old quarry site between Route 12A and Route 4.

If the city of Lebanon approves the consolidation of 10 industrial lots under a planned unit development, then president and co-owner Warren “Bud” Ames hopes to sell the entire project to a developer who will start building soon, he said last week.

With the lots consolidated, city zoning will allow slightly more space to be used for retail, and “retail seems to be the way things are going in Lebanon,” Ames said.

The proposed Iron Horse Park development would have offices, restaurants, industrial buildings and retail space, including 150,000-square-foot retail store, which Ames said has not yet been leased, although speculation about the tenant is widespread in the Upper Valley.

“I’ve heard a lot of rumors like Target, Cabela’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods, but nobody has signed up yet,” Ames said. “I think they’re all lying back and waiting for us to get this final approval.”

The decision on the tenant for the space will be made by the new owner, Ames said.

“We’re not developers. We’ll let whoever buys this do that.

“I’m hoping this is the last hurdle with the planning board,” Ames said about the Jan. 14 meeting at City Hall. “If everything goes as planned, then maybe this time next year the landscape up here will look a little different.”

Twin States Sand and Gravel was started by Ames’ grandfather Bill Taylor and his partner Tom Close in 1947.

Ames started with the company in 1978 and owns the business with Tom Close’s son Stuart Close.

About seven years ago, Ames and Close cut out a portion of the 100-acre property for a development of affordable housing. About half of the project, constructed with modular homes, has been developed, Ames said.

“Our timing was bad,” he said. “The economy really slowed us down, and we stopped until things improved. Things seem to be picking up now, so we’ll pick it up again soon.”

Company News

Three associates with GeoDesign Inc. of Windsor recently became licensed professional engineers in Vermont. Shawn P. Kelley, who lives in White River Junction, is an associate and shareholder in the firm and engineers Jacob F. Wimett, of South Royalton and Joshua D. Gilman, of Springfield, Vt., had to meet education requirements, provide reference letters and pass two eight-hour exams with problem-solving questions that require the application of science and engineering principles, among other qualifications.

All three specialize in geotechnical and geo-environmental engineering, including deep and shallow foundation design, earth retention and slope stabilization projects and in-situ soil testing.

Kelley, originally from Scituate, Mass., has bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in civil and geotechnical engineering from the University of Massachusetts. Wimett, originally from Brandon, Vt., earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Clarkson University in 2003.

Gilman grew up in Wallingford, Vt., and graduatd from Norwich University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a minor in mathematics.

GeoDesign is a privately held engineering consulting firm with offices in Vermont, Connecticut and New York.

Upcoming Events

Elizabeth Bailey, of Sheehan, Phinney, Bass & Green is presenting the seminar “Employment Law Impacts from the November Election” on Thursday morning from 8 to 10:30 at the Mascoma Savings Bank on Sykes Avenue in White River Junction.

The event, which is sponsored by River Valley Human Resources Association, will cover what is ahead for human resources after President Obama’s re-election and the impact the second term will have on employers from health care to immigration.

Entry is at the rear of the building. Members are free. There is a $20 charge for non-members. For more information, email Jon Stearns at jds@ConceptsNrec.com.

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Vermont Technical College and Strolling of the Heifers are teaming up to present the 2013 Vermont Farm/Food Business Plan Competition with multiple prizes totaling $60,000. All entries must involve some aspect of farming, forestry, food processing, food distribution, food packaging or food retailing, including restaurants. Up to five finalists will be selected in the new and existing business category and up to four finalists will be chosen in the student category.

Register at strollingoftheheifers.com using the event menu tab. After registering, contestants must attend a Feb. 5 orientation workshop. A three-page business prospectus is due on March 8.

The annual Vermont Farm Show will be held at the Champlain Valley Exposition Fair Grounds in Essex Junction, Vt., Jan. 29-31. The show features farm machinery, farm animals and agriculture products and is open to both agriculture professionals and the public.

Consumer night is scheduled for Jan. 30, and will include a cooking competition and a farmers market. There is no charge for parking or admission. Vermont Food Bank donations are encouraged. For more information and a schedule of exhibitors, go to vtfarmshow.com.

Items of interest to the local business community are published every Sunday. Submissions may be mailed to: Business Notes, c/o Sunday Valley News, P.O. Box 877, White River Junction, Vt. 05001. You may also send your items by fax to 603-298-0212, or by e-mail to biznotes@vnews.com. All items are subject to editing for clarity or space.