Gilford Commons has new look; second entrance on the way

GILFORD – With the restoration of the exterior of the Gilford Commons shopping center nearly completed, Stuart Scharff of WJP Development says it time to start working on a site plan for the rest of the project.

Scarff said the work done over the summer included a complete upgrade of the interior of the Gilford Cinema 8, which renewed it's long-term lease recently.

"They've spent quite a bit on money, "Scarff said.

"They have digital projection, new seats, a whole new lobby and new fabric in the walls," Scarff said. "It looks wonderful."

Gilford Commons, or what used to be know as the Airport Plaza, is now ready for a major expansion said Scarff.

He said the N.H. Department of Transportation has signed off on allowing them to create a new entrance just opposite end of the Laconia Bypass on Route 11.

"The long eared bat and the spotted begonia will live on," he said, referring to the work the company did with various conservation stakeholders in Glford and with the state to protect some endangered species in the proposed new road way.

He said that now the company is working on a complete site plan that includes the new entrance off Route 11 and upgrades to the parking lot and the lighting.

As for new tenants, Scharff is playing those cards very close to his vest.

He said he has had considerable interest from a few major chains as well as some local businesses who may look to relocate to the expanded shopping plaza once it is complete.

Scharff said his team of engineers continues to work with the Gilford Planning Department and the Planning Board and that the relationship between them has been very productive.