Work to renovate old Zylas building in Merrimack has begun

MERRIMACK – Work has begun to transform the sprawling commercial buildings on the former Zylas property on the Daniel Webster Highway in Merrimack into a storage and retail operation.

Charles W. Morgan, who owns three other large storage buildings in Manchester and Salem, monitored the work taking place Wednesday.

The rear of two buildings on the site, at 40,000 square feet, will be for high-end storage such as RVs, boats and cars.

“We’re going to use it for a first-class RV storage center,” Morgan said. “We store our RVs in our Manchester facility, and we’re totally oversubscribed. The overflow will come down here.”

Morgan said the property sale is under agreement with current owner Jack Zyla. Morgan said he’s putting in about $150,000 worth of improvements into the building before a final sale takes place in about four months.

Workers on Wednesday painted and sealcoated the parking lot that abuts the Daniel Webster Highway. Inside, skid steer loaders removed accumulated debris.

Other workers gathered abandoned merchandise into piles. Dusty books remained on a shelf and old signs hung from the walls.

“I’m concentrating now on the rear building,” Morgan said. “We’re changing all of the mechanical inside, taking out all of the debris. We’re putting a new fire alarm system in. We have to put a new sprinkler system in. It’s a very tired space.”

Morgan said the front 22,000 square feet is “a wonderful retail spot. I want to bring back all of the high ceilings. I think a high-end retail person or company will come along. We’re going to resurrect it.”

Morgan expects the retail portion of his project to be ready in the second quarter of next year.

“I’m happy to be in Merrimack,” Morgan said. “It’s a wonderful area. I think it’s a great building that needs some tender loving care.”

Zylas, created by John Zyla on the site of a former auction barn and later run by his children, ran low-budget auctions for decades and then switched to discount retail sales. In the 1960 and 1970s it wasn’t uncommon to have 1,000 people crammed into the building for an auction, buying heaps of items for a few dollars.

Don Himsel can be reached at 594-6590 or dhimsel@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Himsel on Twitter (@Telegraph_DonH).