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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ocean State Job Lots coming to long-empty former Bradlee’s in Main Street plaza, Nashua

NASHUA – Local shoppers who miss Building 19 have something to look forward to: Ocean State Job Lots is coming to the Main Street Marketplace, occupying a spot that was home to a Bradlee’s department store years ago.

The Rhode Island-based chain sells overruns, overstocks and close-outs of manufacturers’ products in a wide variety of market segments, ranging from food and clothing to air conditioners and camping equipment. ...

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NASHUA – Local shoppers who miss Building 19 have something to look forward to: Ocean State Job Lots is coming to the Main Street Marketplace, occupying a spot that was home to a Bradlee’s department store years ago.

The Rhode Island-based chain sells overruns, overstocks and close-outs of manufacturers’ products in a wide variety of market segments, ranging from food and clothing to air conditioners and camping equipment.

Its product line is similar to Building 19, the Massachusetts firm that shut its Nashua store in 2012 and then went bankrupt, but Ocean State Job Lots is much larger, with 115 stores throughout the Northeast and more opening regularly.

It has 10 stores in New Hampshire, including Derry, Hooksett and Peterborough, and 46 in Massachusetts, including Tewksbury.

The 37,000-square-foot Nashua store is expected to open in late August and to bring about 40 jobs, part- and full-time.

The company did not return Telegraph phone calls for details.

Work has been going on for weeks at the plaza at 300 Main St., which some old-time Nashuans still call by previous names of Globe Plaza or the original Simoneau Plaza.

Much of the activity has involved drainage and foundation work to correct problems that date back to the creation of Simoneau Plaza, which opened in 1963 as Nashua’s first shopping center, with Bradlee’s and W.T. Grant as anchor store.

Parts of the plaza were built on filled-in wetlands and over the former Harbor Pond, which was a popular place for ice skating before it became polluted by industrial waste.

Those were the days before wetlands development was regulated and Simoneau Plaza struggled for decades with the land settling underneath it, cracking parking lots and creating uneven floors.

Bradlee’s, in particular, was known as a place where unattended shopping carts would roll away by themselves. The store shut in 2001 and its portion of the plaza has been largely empty since then.

Jerry Tillery, who works for the plaza’s management company, 300 Main Street Realty LLC, was hauling hoses outside of the construction site Monday.

Tillery said the flooring was removed and about 50,000 square feet of new floor is being installed – literally from the ground up.

He said the workers discovered and removed four layers of concrete flooring. Under that, he said, they found sand and material that had been dumped in the old days.

“It wasn’t like a dump where you’d dump all your household trash. … Basically, it was a lot of boot leather from J.F. McElwain, asbestos from Johns Manville, a lot of old bottles in here,” said Tillery, listing some old-time Nashua companies.

“All tenants that were going to stay, we moved them over there,” Tillery said, gesturing toward the south side of the plaza. “We tore all that down so we could put the Shaw’s in. This we just left it alone until somebody was interested.”

He said a new 4-inch layer of smooth and level concrete is being installed over a new substrate.

The runaway shopping carts of local lore?

“Never going to happen again,” he said.

Tillery said a methane removal system has been installed, even though he said there was no indication there is any in the building.

“There’s a mat underneath all of this. It has a plastic gap in there, and it’s connected to a pipe that runs off of two pumps in that little shed which vents it out the flagpole,” he said pointing to a small, beige-colored building in the parking lot, near what will be the Job Lot’s front entrance.

David Brooks can be reached at 594-6531 or dbrooks@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Brooks on Twitter (@GraniteGeek).