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Condo Project Proposed Along Route 120 in Lebanon

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/11/2018 12:27:07 AM
Modified: 9/11/2018 8:57:00 AM

Lebanon — The co-founder of Jesse’s Steaks, Seafood and Tavern is proposing to build a 26-unit condominium complex near the parking lot to the Route 120 restaurant.

Marc Milowsky and his company, Route 120 Realty, Inc., are requesting a zoning variance to construct a three-story, 40,000-square-foot building on the property, which borders the Hanover town line and is near both Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Dartmouth College.

Plans also call for an underground parking lot capable of holding 34 spaces, as well as 22 additional parking spots outside.

Milowsky said on Monday that he plans to offer “tasteful residential condominiums” accessible to the busy Route 120 corridor.

“We plan to use high-level finishes and bio-friendly materials,” he wrote in an email. “Pricing will be determined if and when we get further along. At this point, we are in the early planning stages.”

Milowsky and his wife Patty founded Jesse’s in 1976, and operated the steakhouse until early this year.

The couple sold Jesse’s — and Molly’s Restaurant and Bar in downtown Hanover — in January to Tony Barnett, then-director of operations at the two restaurants, and his wife, Erin Barnett. Although the businesses changed hands in the deal, the Milowskys retained ownership of the real estate.

The Jesse’s property is split between parcels; one in Hanover and another in Lebanon. The restaurant sits on a two-acre plot in Hanover, while the parking lot is part of a nearly 3-acre property within Lebanon’s light industrial zoning district.

The Lebanon zoning district doesn’t allow for multi-family residential units, which is why the project is seeking a variance from the Zoning Board.

In an application to the city, architects argue the condominiums would fit in with the neighborhood’s current offerings, a mix of multi-family residential units and commercial properties. The architects point to condominium units in Centerra and affordable apartments at Gile Hill as two projects that achieved success capitalizing on the proximity to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and downtown Hanover.

“Owners of the units will be able to walk to Jesse’s restaurant without the need to drive, and bicycle to DHMC and Centerra as well as downtown Lebanon and Hanover,” the application said.

A Norwich realtor asked about the project last month also was skeptical whether the site could be used industrially, as the zoning ordinance intends.

“There is no question in my mind that the location of the subject property would be better suited for residential purposes than light industrial for a variety of reasons,” Norwich realtor Ned Redpath wrote in an email to architects, who asked for advice on the project.

The property would provide commuters “ideal access” to both Hanover and Lebanon, he wrote, adding industrial projects are better suited to thoroughfares closer to interstates 89 and 91.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock, which owns land next to Jesse’s in Hanover, expressed support for additional housing units in the region in a statement on Monday.

“Dartmouth-Hitchcock has a strong interest in helping alleviate housing shortages in the Upper Valley and around the region,” D-H spokesman Rick Adams wrote in an email. “Local developers and non-profit organizations have a number of projects underway or in the planning stages, and we’re talking with them about how D-H can be an active partner in the discussion and how best to address the need for housing locally.”

The condominium proposal comes as construction continues on a five-building apartment project behind the Element hotel, located about a mile south on Route 120. That project is expected to bring 153 one-, two-, and three-bedroom units to Altaria Lebanon Park, a 65-acre mixed use development that started with the Element’s opening about five years ago.

Like the Jesse’s project, the Altaria development is designed to attract young professionals who commute to Dartmouth, DHMC, or businesses in downtown Lebanon and Hanover, Manchester developer Dick Anagnost told the Valley News last year.

The complex will include furnished units available to short-term residents, such as physicians serving their residency at the hospital or visiting professors at the college.

And a little more than two miles south of the hospital, work is ongoing to build 75 housing units on Etna Road near the intersection of Route 120. The six-story project is estimated to cost $12.8 million.

The Lebanon Zoning Board is scheduled to discuss Milowsky​​​​​​’s condominium project at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 17, in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.




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