Two real estate brokers considering the state’s bid to sell the former 220-acre Lakes Region property in Laconia said Wednesday they see great potential in the property – if the city is willing to cooperate with development plans.
Roger Dicker, senior vice president and managing broker for CBRE in Manchester, and H. Gregory Johnson, broker for HG Johnson Real Estate in Keene, spent two hours walking the grounds, looking inside the buildings and asking questions to Jared Nylund, who manages the bidding process for the State Department of Administrative Services.
Proposals are due to be submitted on September 10, and Nyland said three more companies have expressed interest in partnering with the state to sell real estate on the market.
The state has tried to sell land overlooking Lake Winniskwam for years and at least once turned down the city’s $ 2 million offer. But government officials are hoping that a recent change to the law will increase its chances of success: Part of the budget trailer bill gave Gov. Chris Sunoon the right to sell property without going through multiple levels of government scrutiny or offering the property first to Laconia, two steps needed to sell another state’s “surplus »Property. Sunun only needs the approval of at least three of the five members of the Executive Board.
This agreement affected the city authorities, who fear that the interests of the city will be ignored. Mayor Andrew Hosmer is also concerned that a buyer could evict the state’s 911 emergency call center and the Lakeside Mutual Assistance Association, which are in the area.
The Fire Protection Association provides emergency fire service and ambulance duty in 35 settlements of the Lake District. Its leader, John Goldman, shares Hosmer’s concerns. He said the relocation of the dispatch center would cost 35 member cities, some with fewer than 1,000 residents, $ 7 million to buy land and erect a new building with the necessary security lines and communications.
Mutual aid based on this
On Tuesday, Goldman sent a letter to Sunun, members of the executive council and all legislators whose counties include or concern Laconia, inviting them to visit them and see what role the association plays in the region.
“It’s not that I don’t want to move,” Goldman said Wednesday. “Everyone wants to build a new building. It would be great. I just can’t afford it. The fate of the region (mutual assistance) depends on this. “
Goldman hopes that the Fire Service Association, the 911 emergency call center, which is the only backup of the state’s main call center in Concord, and the state can reach a “peer-to-peer” agreement that will allow them to stay or relocate at no huge cost.
At least one of the potential bidders can keep both agencies in ownership. “I think this is beneficial to the buyer,” Johnson said. “The state is a good tenant.”
A tour on Wednesday showcased both the best features of this property – lake and mountain views – and its challenges. Few buildings appear suitable for restoration, and many are likely to contain asbestos. The animal sheds, dormitories and repair shops that were built at the Laconia Public School are either deteriorating on their own or in a serious state of disrepair. And significant investments in infrastructure such as water supply and sanitation will be required. “I think this property has huge potential,” Johnson said after the tour, adding that a lot will depend on these issues.
Like Johnson, Dicker said success would require “active” collaboration between all stakeholders. If the city hopes to see property renovations and property taxes, “now the city has a chance to take it seriously.”