Understanding after Hathaway House meeting is that historic Laconia building will have to be moved to be saved

LACONIA — Following the emotional public hearing on the future of the Hathaway House last week, Pam Clark, who chairs the Heritage Commission, and City Manager Scott Myers met yesterday with Greg Nolan of Cafua Management Company, LLC, the owner of the building, in what Clark described as a "positive and productive meeting."

In September, Cafua applied for permit to demolish the Hathaway House, setting in train the process to preserve it. A public hearing was held, at which the overwhelming majority of attendees favored preserving the building. In accord with the ordinance Clark met with the owner to discuss alternatives to demolition. If an alternative cannot be found, Cafua will be entitled to proceed with demolition.

Clark said that there was acknowledgement that the interests of both the owner of Hathaway House and those seeking to preserve it, hinged on relocating the building. The entrance to the Dunkin' Donuts outlet runs close to the front door of the Hathaway House, effectively foreclosing prospects to convert the building to a either a residential or commercial use at its current location.

Although Cafua will complete its application for a demolition permit, Clark said that Nolan agreed to "provide a reasonable window of opportunity to explore the possibility of relocating the building. He said that at this time the company had no specific plans for the property. Clark said that Nolan assured her that "there is no imminent time frame for demolition" and should the company decide to pursue that course the Heritage Commission will be given ample notice."

Clark said that following the meeting she spoke with Maggie Stier of the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance who said that she would arrange for a team to assess the condition of the Hathaway House to determine whether it can be moved and to estimate the cost relocating it. "Right now the question is whether it can be moved and if so where it can be located and at what cost," Clark said, adding that the commission may issue a "request for proposals" to attract developers interested in acquiring the building and a lot to house it.