January 7, 2011


Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- After years of uncertainty about the future of the Pinkerton Tavern, the business owners have agreed to vacate their Manchester Road building by Feb. 1 in trade for a $305,000 relocation payment from the town.
The tavern building is the only structure that sits in the way of expansion efforts slated for three-quarters of a mile of Route 28 along Manchester Road, from Crystal Avenue to Ashleigh Drive.
Since at least 2007, the town has been working with Arnold
 Goldstein of Bedford, who owns the 13 Manchester Road property, to purchase the land to prepare for a widening of Route 28. 

When no agreement was met, the town initiated eminent domain proceedings this fall. The financial details of the settlement with Goldstein will now be worked out by the state Board of Tax and Land Appeals. 
But by law, the town is also required to assist Guy Sreitburger and Jennifer Lutzen, the husband-and-wife pair who own the tavern, with the relocation of their business. The pair are eight years into a 20-year lease of the building. 
In the agreement finalized Thursday, Derry will pay Streitburger and Lutzen $305,000 to cover relocation costs, whether or not the couple decides to reopen their business at another location, said Derry Town Administrator John Anderson on Thursday. In turn, the couple has agreed to be out of the building by Feb. 1, he said.
In the beginning of the process, Anderson said town staff did not realize they would be bound by law to cover the cost of moving the physical restaurant equipment to a new location. 
The town’s first offer was for $110,000, Anderson said, which was then increased to $230,000 this fall after the town hired an outside consultant to calculate fair relocation costs. Streitburger and Lutzen had asked for $365,000, he said. 
Given the early confusion on the town’s part, Anderson said he wanted to make sure the issue was resolved as quickly as possible. 
“The decision I made was that it made the most sense to move the project forward as quickly as we could and to try and make Jen and Guy whole again,” Anderson said. “We want to be good neighbors. 
We made some mistakes, and we’ll try not to do it again.” 
Anderson said he also tried to take into consideration the toll that the years-long uncertainty has taken on the tavern’s business. 
“We know that we impacted their business from the moment we said the town was going to take the property, so there is a bit of good will built in here,” Anderson said. 
Anderson said the $305,000 payout will be incorporated as part of the total costs to widen Route 28. He said staff have allocated about $500,000 to cover land acquisition associated with the project. 
Though the tavern property is the only parcel that the town will purchase in its totality, staff worked out arrangements for small pieces of land with 14 other property owners along the stretch of road. 
The council has authorized a bond amount of up to $5.4 million to fund the project, with $700,000 coming in from the state, said Derry Chief Financial Officer Frank Childs. Revenue from the Route 28 TIF District is expected to cover those costs. 
But as recent construction estimates come in, Anderson said he expects the project to be completed under budget. 
“Because the construction market is so soft right now, people are being very competitive with their bidding,” he said. “With construction costs as they are, there’s no better time to do this.” 
And with the tavern issue taken care of, Anderson said the town is still prepared to move forward on an April construction timeline. 
As for the tavern building, Anderson said it will go up for auction in the early spring and if no one bites, it will likely be knocked down. 

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