LACONIA — Re/Max Bayside has become the most recent business to lay a bet on the future of downtown by leasing space at 600 Main Street, the former home of the Sundial Shop, which was purchased and renovated by Lakes Region Acquisitions, LLC in 2011.
"We'll have big signs in the windows soon,"Chris Kelly said yesterday.
Re/Max Bayside has leased the former home of Melcher & Prescott Insurance at the corner of South Main Street and Court Street since 2010. Kelly said that his firm has become engaged in what he called the "renaissance of downtown" and has decided "to put our money where our mouth is." The real estate firm will occupy the largest and second largest of the units of the building, an area approaching 2,500 square feet, facing Main Street, where it will house between 12 and 15 employees.
Kelly said that Re/Max Bayside is managing the 18 apartments at the Colonial Theatre for the Belknap Economic Development Council, which purchased the theatre complex in July. The eventual renovation and reopening of the theatre, he explained, has sparked interest in downtown. By making a timely move, he said "we're in on the ground floor." Kelly expected to be operating at the new location in December.
To signal Re/Max Bayside's presence downtown, Kelly said the company hot-air balloon will be flying the Pumpkin Festival on Saturday, with flights from Opechee Park from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
John Moriarty, one of four partners in Lakes Region Acquisitions, LLC, said he will be welcoming two tenants before the year is out — Re/Max Bayside and Salon Amara, which will move from Church Street to 1,255 square feet on Main Street. He said he is thinking of Re/Max Bayside as "big ticket retail" and anticipates its presence will increase patronage of other downtown businesses.
After the monicker 600 Main Street ran afoul of 911, Moriarty has taken to calling the building the "center city building," explaining that when Laconia is Googled, the arrow points to the building. He said that since 2011 a number of new businesses have opened downtown, where "the energy has become measurable."
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