SEABROOK — If the $60 million expansion project gets the nod from its board of directors, national food distribution giant US Foods will be coming to Seabrook, buying and renovating the half-million square foot Poland Springs warehouse that sits on 88-acres off Ledge Road.
On Tuesday night, the Seabrook Planning Board gave a conditional green light to the project, that will bring hundreds of existing jobs to town, along with about 100 new positions. US Foods must still submit its engineering plans for the diesel fueling, light maintenance and truck washing facilities, and go through the plan’s normal site plan review process. Company officials also agreed they’d adhere to any improvements to their own safeguards, if required to do so after the board sends the plans out for independent review.
The Planning Board’s conditional approval Tuesday night was critical for US Foods to consider leaving its longtime, but too-small, location in Peabody for New Hampshire. According to US Foods Director of Corporate Real Estate Jeff Barnes, the company had only until Nov. 30 to get an OK from Seabrook, because of its deadline with the owner of the Poland Springs property, for an estimated $27 million.
Since it’s the same use of a conforming building, US Foods purchase and renovation of the Poland Springs warehouse would not have had to go before the Planning Board, if not for the company’s desire to add the fueling and truck washing components to the lot. Although in Seabrook’s industrial zone, the site is also in the town’s well recharge area, which required US Foods get a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
The company provided conceptual information on how it would build the fueling depot and washing facilities, offering multiple safeguards to ensure spills, if they occur, would not reach the groundwater and aquifer which feeds its public water supply.