LACONIA — "This is the first step of many," said Randy Eifert, who chairs the Belknap Economic Development Council, after announcing yesterday that 609 Main Street, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the organization completed its acquisition of the property housing the historic Colonial Theatre.
The 3-building property was purchased for $1.4 million from Patricia Baldi, whose late husband Lawrence acquired it in 1967. The City of Laconia loaned the BEDC the purchase price for a term of up to 18 months, with interim payments of interest only.
Eifert expressed the BEDC's appreciation for the support and assistance it received in undertaking this project from the business community, civic leaders and other partners. In particular, he thanked those who volunteered their time and expertise to conclude the transaction, including attorney John Giere of Wescott Law and Kevin Sullivan and Steve Weeks, Jr. of Weeks Commercial Real Estate.
The BEDC has contracted with Bayside Rentals and Management of Meredith to provide property management services for the property.
"This just the beginning, Eifert remarked. During the next 18 months the BEDC will assemble a financial package of approximately $15 million to fund the renovation of the property. When the financing is arranged, the BEDC will repay its $1.4 million loan from the city, which in turn will lend BEDC between $2 million and $3 million with payments of interest only for a term of seven years to complete the financing for the renovation and restoration of the property.
Once the theater is renovated and restored, the city will lease it as the sole tenant for seven years, operating the property as a civic auditorium. After seven years the city will have the option to acquire the auditorium, but not the residential and commercial units on the property, by forgiving its outstanding loan to the BEDC.
Altogether the property complex consists of 38,642-square-feet, of which the theater itself represents approximately 20,000-square-feet. It sits on a half-acre with 91 feet of frontage on Main Street and 209 feet of frontage on Canal Street. In addition to the theater, the property includes four storefront retail units on Main Street, each of about 1,150 square feet, five retail units on Canal Street, ranging between 250 and 1,500 square feet, and 18 apartments on the second and third floors on the Main Street building.
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