Publication: Seacoast Online
Author: Nik Beimler
The Dover Economic Development Department’s goal is not just to make sure the city is moving forward financially and responsibly, it is also to create what Economic Development Director Dan Barufaldi calls “location envy.”
“My job is to make Dover a destination with a vibrant downtown,” Barufaldi said. “Development means jobs, it means vibrancy, it means more outside dollars coming into the city as it develops a reputation as a place to be. … Location envy.”
Barufaldi read a comprehensive list of all developments currently going on in the Garrison City, including construction on Third Street, renovation of the old Foster’s Daily Democrat building and construction of Silver Square at the site of the former McIntosh College on Silver Street.
“There’s more that I can’t tell you about yet,” Barufaldi said after completing his list of about 20 current developments and business expansions in the city.
Barufaldi says the city does not accept any and all proposals for development that come its way. Instead, it looks for a “responsible approach” from developers, and analyzes how many jobs, and what kinds of jobs the development would bring.
In recent years, Dover has placed a focus on mixed-use developments that combine commercial with residential spaces. Barufaldi says this helps the city expand while staying affordable, attracting more young people and businesses.
However, he adds the city is now looking at possibly putting more of an emphasis on commercial development over residential.
“Sustained growth and a solid economy takes the stabilization of the tax rate,” Barufaldi said. “By emphasizing the right mix of commercial and residential, we can balance housing with commercial development to stabilize the tax base and keep the tax rate for residents stable and lower for future generations.”
There are many development projects going on in the city, but here is an overview of three of the most prominent and most visible:
The former McIntosh College location at 181 Silver St. was purchased by VMD Companies of North Andover, Massachusetts, in 2015.
The development, called Silver Square, is underway and includes a hotel and a Dunkin’ Donuts expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2017, and an assisted living facility in the third quarter of that year, according to Jim Vitas, a principal at VMD.
Phase two of the project is expected to include a bank and a 66,000-square-foot medical office. A timetable for phase two has not yet been established.
In total, Silver Square will comprise 200,000 square feet of development, valued at more than $50 million.
As part of the development, VMD agreed to construct a roundabout at the intersection of Silver Street, Route 155, Silver Street Extension and the Spaulding Turnpike. That project was completed in September.