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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Atrium withdraws plan to build facility in Merrimack

MERRIMACK – A major development project that promised to bring hundreds of jobs to Merrimack was withdrawn, at least temporarily, ahead of a Planning Board meeting Tuesday night.

Atrium Medical Corp. submitted plans to build a 300,000-square-foot manufacturing and office facility on Robert Milligan Parkway. The company’s engineering firm notified the town that the application would be withdrawn in a letter dated Jan. 31.

Tim Thompson, Merrimack’s director of community development, said the company’s new owners initially told local management to move ahead with ongoing projects when Atrium was purchased last year.

Later, the new corporate parent decided to cancel the project when it decided it wasn’t interested in building new facilities and instead would rather focus on expanding an existing building, Thompson said.

Atrium Medical employs about 480 people in its existing facility in a Hudson industrial park off Lowell Road.

The Merrimack building would have been 311,000 square feet and would house 500 jobs to start, with possible future expansion to 400,000 square feet and up to 700 jobs, according to Thompson.

Thompson said the town is still working with the company to find an existing building, or buildings, to accommodate the company’s wishes to expand and relocate to Merrimack.

“We are working with them on an alternative site in town,” Thompson told the board Tuesday night. “We are encouraged that they are committed to Merrimack.”

Merrimack has been trying to attract businesses to grow the nonresidential tax base, Thompson said, and the new Atrium facility would have done just that.

The project would have been about half the size of the Merrimack Premium Outlets project, but would still have been a huge catch for the town.

The company develops devices and technology for cardiology and radiology, chest trauma care and thoracic damage, vascular surgery and general surgery and distributes medical devices around the world. It started in 1981 and has headquarters at 5 Wentworth Drive in Hudson. It also has international offices in England, Germany, France, India, Australia and the Netherlands.

A Swedish company, Getinge Group and its subsidiary, Maquet Cardiovascular – a global company that focuses on cardiovascular technologies – purchased Atrium for about $680 million in October.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com.