The former Lakes Region Facility property is 220 acres. (Alan MacRae | New Hampshire Bulletin)
The state received four bids by Friday’s deadline to market the 220-acre former Lakes Region Facility for redevelopment. A law change tucked into the state budget will allow Gov. Chris Sununu to bypass the usual internal review process and award a contract himself with just three Executive Council votes.
The state Department of Administrative Services said it does not release the bidders’ identities or any information about the bids this early in the process. Gregory Johnson, one of the two real estate brokers who toured the property in late August with Jared Nylund, who is managing the bidding process for the department, was not among the bidders but wished he had been.
Johnson said Friday he learned of the opportunity too late to put a complete bit together by the deadline and was unable to get an extension from the state. He submitted a letter of interest in the event the contract is put back up for bid.
“I think it’s a great project,” Johnson said. “I hope the state gives it to the right person, and it should be a huge benefit for the state of New Hampshire and the city of Laconia.”
In its request for bids, the state acknowledged that the investment required of anyone who buys the property is so significant that the state might collect “close to zero dollars” in a sale.
The redevelopment project became controversial during the legislative session when Laconia officials and the Lakeshore Redevelopment Planning Commission, which has spent four years preparing the property for sale, learned Sununu was seeking the law change to take control of the sale.
The property overlooks Lake Winnisquam and abuts Ahern State Park, which includes over 3,500 feet of Lake Winnisquam shoreline. It’s also home to a 911 call center and the Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid Association, which provides emergency fire and EMS dispatch for 35 towns in the Lakes Region.
The property’s ultimate buyer can keep those operations on site but is not required to.
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