By Frank Roche
President, Roche Realty Group, Inc.
It's amazing when you look at the landscape surrounding Lake Winnipesaukee and observe some of the new undertakings that have occurred in recent years. Keep in mind, these have been difficult years since 2008 with the financial downturn. Fast track to 2016 and we are in the midst of a nice expansion in our local economy, with all sorts of real estate activity taking place. One very masterfully planned community overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee is generating a tremendous amount of interest. I must say it takes a world class company to create such a prestigious community. Meredith Bay is one of those communities.
Meredith Bay, perched atop the former Brickyard Mountain Ski Area, encompasses 410 acres and is located between the quaint lakeside village of Meredith and the nostalgic vacation area of Weirs Beach. Meredith Bay's first neighborhood, Akwa Vista has 270 degree views that extend from Mount Washington to Gunstock. I can remember the ski area during the 1970s and early 80s, as I actually skied there once, had a vertical drop of 420 feet and had one chairlift and a rope tow. It seemed like the trail came to an abrupt stop before the lake. This location has certainly morphed to its highest and best use since that time.
So what do I mean when I say world class company? The developer, David Southworth, of Southworth Development, LLC, brings tremendous accolades and accomplishments to the table. Together with Paul Fireman of Reebok International fame, Southworth developed the communities of Willowbend, located on Cape Cod, The Westin Rio Mar Beach Resort and Country Club in Puerto Rico, The JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort located in Tucson, Arizona and Liberty National, a golf and residential community located adjacent to the Statue of Liberty on New York Bay in Jersey City, New Jersey. Southworth Development also developed a project on the west coast of Scotland called Machrihanish Dunes, involving a seaside links golf course, the restoration of two beautiful old Scottish hotels and the creation of residential homes. His largest project is the PGA village The Bahamas, a 1,906-acre ocean front community, with a 36-hole championship course, 5-star hotel, casino and 1,500 residential units. The arrival of a world class developer into the Lake Region real estate market is a great step forward and demonstrates the attraction and uniqueness of our region, centered around Lake Winnipesaukee and a multitude of other quality lakes.
When you drive into the community you will see an upscale variety of quality built homes and recreation opportunities. The gated entrance off Route 3 provides access to Akwa Vista; this neighborhood involves 129 lots and features a fine selection of exquisite single family homes, many with sweeping views of the lakes and mountains. 32 home sites have been sold and 25 luxury homes have been constructed to date. They feature a blend of Craftsman and Adirondack shingle style architecture. The "Pinehurst" is priced at $576,000 and grabs my attention. The "Keniston" and the "Timber" are other examples of traditional fine architecture with contemporary flare.
The lighthouse at the top of the hill is probably the most recognized on the lake and actually services as a 500,000-gallon water tank, with a lighthouse motif and an attached "Keepers Cottage" which acts as the Meredith Bay sales center.
Down further on the site on Scenic Road, along the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, the 19 townhomes at Meredith Bay were constructed. These tri-level homes with garages offer commanding lake and mountain views and have an eye appealing modern Adirondack design. 17 have sold and there are two resales priced from $545,000 to $689,000. I can remember in the late 1970s when I sold the Look Off Rock Motel and Cottages, and it now has become the site of these gorgeous townhomes. What is unique about these townhomes is their size, which can go up to 2,600 square feet.
Spindle View townhomes are presently under construction. These unique duplex buildings are contiguous to the townhomes across the street and the prices range from $575,000 to $650,000.
A totally new concept for the Lakes Region, Blue Gill Lodge includes 23 luxurious one level 2 to 3-bedroom condominium homes, constructed within a four level lodge building, with an underground parking garage. Each of the luxury units feature private elevator access to the heated garage below. An on-site fitness center and grilling pavilion is located within the building. The views from the expansive decks of each home are breathtaking. The architecture and unique quality construction reminds me of Beaver Creek and Vail, Colorado. State of the art and first class. So far six units have sold in the new building and they range from 1,400 to roughly 2,000 square feet.
The Akwa Marina and Beach Club, which consists of approximately five acres, is adjacent to the Meredith Bay Development on Scenic Road and all residents, under an exclusive use and access agreement, can enjoy the natural sandy beach, heated club pool with hot tub and children's pool. There are 76 boat slips at the Akwa Marina and based on availability, residents have the possibility of leasing a slip or leasing a slip from a number of nearby marinas. The Akwa Marina Beach Bar and Grille offers a nice casual spot to enjoy lunch or dinner and a cocktail overlooking the lake, within its unique post and beam octagon structure.
Additionally, the community includes its own timber frame pavilion, heated pool, tennis courts, playground, extensive walking trails, kayak cove on the lake, with access for swimming and fishing and a community garden. The community is very active with seasonal events. According to Dave Southworth, future plans call for a community retail village and possibly a boutique hotel. There is considerable room for expansion across the road on Route 3, on land which the company owns.
I have to say hats off to Dave Southworth and his fine development team! It truly is exciting to watch this new community mature into one of the Lakes Region's finest.
To find out more information regarding Meredith Bay, visit www.rocherealty.com and visit the communities page, or go to www.meredithbaynh.com. Frank Roche is president of Roche Realty Group in Meredith and Laconia, and can be reached at 279-7046.
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