Former LASC owner Tom Oakley, center, shakes hands with Tommy Bolduc, the owner of Optiline Enterprises, which bought the facility. Looking on is Mick Bolduc, Tommy Bolduc's partner and cousin. In Tommy Bolduc's left hand is the key to the front door. (Laconia Daily Sun Photo/Gail Ober)
By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA – The Laconia Athletic and Swim Club sold at auction yesterday for $735,000 to Optiline Enterprises of Hudson, a building company, bringing to a close a five-month-long saga of seeing one of the flagship businesses in the city fall to financial stress.
Former owner Tom Oakley said it was great news for the Lakes Region.
"It's not even bittersweet," he said, "because we had a great run."
Aside from the opening bid of $725,000 made by auctioneer Steven Calheta, who represented first mortgage holder ReadyCap Lending LLC, there were no other bids offered and Calheta, after speaking with ReadyCap via telephone, passed on a chance to up the bid to $745,000.
"We're trying to give local people back their health club," said top-bidder Optiline co-owner Tommy Bolduc, who said they plan on completely rebuilding the building and leasing it to The Executive, which is a company that operates health clubs in Hooksett and Manchester.
Executive's CEO, Michael Benton, said yesterday that he is working with Optiline to re-create a health club that will concentrate on families, the individual and preventative health care. He said Optiline will own the property and The Executive will operate the health club.
"We are very, very excited to come up to Laconia," he said.
"We feel strongly we can build a very upscale but not overly priced offering," Benton said yesterday, adding there will be a daycare.
Benton said his team will be designing the interior and directing the renovations of the building according to the goals of creating a smaller version of the 130,000-square-foot health club in Manchester. He said he would be working with people in the area to see what kind of health club they want to have.
"We have a lot of members who also have homes in the Lakes Region who have be asking us to do something there," Benton said. "We also want to get the swim team back."
Benton said he is also involved in Genavix and hopes to continue Oakley's relationship with LRGHealthcare for preventative care. He said Genavix offers corporate wellness services to families and individuals.
The "swim club," as it was affectionately known throughout the Lakes Region, was owned and operated by Oakley for 24 years. Built in 1962 as a YMCA, the club was sold to him 1991 and operated continually until its sudden closing the day after Thanksgiving of 2015.
Yesterday's auction was the second attempt at selling the building at foreclosure. The first failed in late February when no auctioneer showed.
According to Oakley's attorney, Jeff Philpot, rules governing the sale of corporations at foreclosure auctions is that the opening bid, in this case the bid made by ReadyCap LLC, must be at least 60 percent of the fair-market value of the property. That would be $1,225,000. The city of Laconia has the property assessed for $1,287,400.
There were three bidders at yesterday's auction. One was Rusty Bertholet of Meredith, who was prepared to bid but didn't after hearing the opening offer. The other was unidentified and never bid.
Philpot said Optiline has 30 days to pay ReadyCap or the sale is nullified and the property would go back to auction.
"My wife and I were ecstatic to hear who bought it," said Oakley. "The Executive health and sports clubs are premiere facilities. You couldn't ask for a better outcome."
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