By: Ryan Lessard, Union Leader Correspondent
Tuscan Brands CEO Joe Faro says he made changes to the Tuscan Village development to expand outdoor entertainment after visiting new developments across the country.
The recently updated plans took a single structure that would have housed a cinema and bowling alley and split it into two buildings. The gap between them will be a courtyard used for outdoor shows such as music concerts, festivals and other forms of family-friendly entertainment. It can also be used as a skating rink with a Christmas tree in the winter.
“The Tuscan Village will program that entertainment as a service to the development,” Faro said.
He said the buildings bordering the courtyard will have restaurants in the upper floors with terraces on which people can eat, drink and watch the show below.
Faro said he thinks it would give people more reason to visit the new downtown space. He got the idea after visiting a number of “aspirational” developments in states including Texas, Ohio and California.
“There’s some interesting things happening,” Faro said.
At the Legacy West development in Dallas, Texas, Faro was particularly awed by a country music concert in an outdoor stage area made of shipping containers with a gravel floor; diners in second- or third-floor restaurants could watch the show.
“It was really alive,” he said.
After seeing that, Faro met with his vice president of development, Mike Powers, and they drew up some new plans for a Tuscan Live area. He then unveiled them at a retail conference in Boston last month.
Faro has also drawn up improvements of the linear park area above Tuscan Boulevard, the main strip bisecting the village, with additional pathways and a bike path that connects with the Salem Bike-Ped Corridor.
Overall, Faro doesn’t expect any changes to the anticipated tax revenue ($11 million annually) or projected jobs (6,000) by the 170-acre, $1 billion mixed-use development.
So far, nearly 350 housing units have been completed; there will be another 560 in the second phase, Faro said.
Corsa, a four-building apartment complex with 256 market-rate units, will be opening in a couple weeks.
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