Centerra brings mall to Hanover

by Sarah Rubenstein | 5/19/98 5:00am

Hanover is now home to a strip mall of sorts -- Centerra Resource Park, built on a parcel of College-owned land across from the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center on Route 120.

The plaza's nine stores are already attracting a wide range of consumers, and two more businesses may soon be added.

Several owners in the park said their sales have been satisfactory since their stores opened, and Jack Panzica, owner of the River Valley Club fitness center, even compared Centerra to a "miniature Silicon Valley."

"The stores are doing well," College real estate officer Woody Simonds said. "We don't get sales reports, but we have heard from some of the tenants that they are meeting or exceeding expectations."

Simonds said the College benefits from the Centerra stores' success, because it made a real estate investment in the park.

"It is an income-producing property that benefits the College," he said.

The month-old River Valley Club has been particularly attractive to students at the College.

Panzica said the fitness club has been as successful as he had hoped it would be, accumulating about 1,200 users its first four weeks.

"I liked the location because it was in what I considered no-man's land, in the sense that it was on the border of Hanover and Lebanon and therefore had a life of its own," Panzica said.

He said the club has attracted people from around the Upper Valley, and about 15 to 20 percent of the members are students at the College.

Leigh Eisenman '99 said she goes to the club three or four times per week because she likes the brand new facility and varied offerings, and she enjoys leaving the campus once in a while.

Eisenman said she also shops at the Co-op Food Store at Centerra.

The newest addition to Centerra is Monsoons, an Asian-influenced restaurant backed by the owners of Sweet Tomatoes in Lebanon.

General Manager Janice Moore said the restaurant has had a "really nice response" from local residents and College students since it opened on May 5.

She said the Co-op Food Store has been an anchor to attract consumers to the area, and Monsoons has also benefited from people who have been loyal to Sweet Tomatoes.

Jake Blum, President of Systems Plus computers, said he has been pleased with the more visible location and increased size of his store's facility since it moved to Centerra.

While Blum said the bulk of his store's sales go to businesses, Systems Plus also sells software, hardware and services to individual customers and some College students in the area.

"I would say more of the students we do business with are not the undergraduates, but more the Tuck students or people who are in professional fields," he said.

Several of the owners said they also do a lot of business with people at DHMC because of the hospital's close proximity to Centerra.

An 80,000-square foot light industrial production facility and an additional software development company are looking to add to the nine stores that have opened there since November, according to Simonds.