LACONIA — The former Holy Trinity School will be sold for $1 and turned into an apartment building under an agreement approved by the City Council on Monday night.
The city paid $1.13 million to the Catholic Diocese of Manchester for the school and the historic Busiel House last summer as a way to bring more public parking to the downtown area while allowing for the preservation of St. Joseph Church.
City Manager Scott Myers said the city was interested in looking at the best options for future use of the property as opposed to merely selling it to the highest bidder.
“I know the council and the mayor were really focused on its reuse, its compatibility in the urban core and downtown and a number of other things,” he said.
The buyer of the property is KNM Holdings and the agreement was signed by Kevin Morrisette of that group.
Myers said it is not unusual to sell a property for $1 and, in fact, the city once did that with its old police station, which is across the street from Holy Trinity School.
The front of the school dates to the 1920s and will be turned into at least eight residential apartments. The back of the school, built in the 1950s, will be torn down, and eventually replaced with an addition with another four apartments.
There will be 21 parking spaces at the property, so this development won’t use any of the 85 parking spaces that motivated the city’s purchase of the church property in the first place.
The project fits in with city goals to foster workforce growth by creating more housing opportunities in the area.
"Certainly with the scarcity of housing in the area, this is a primary concern," said Mayor Andrew Hosmer. "Second this will move a structure on to the city tax rolls, and that's a benefit for the city.
"Also, we all had a desire to preserve some of the aesthetics and history of the property."
Meanwhile, the council earlier gave the go-ahead to sell the 155-year-old Busiel House, which had served as the church rectory, for about $450,000 to Ian and Mandie Hagan, of Gilford, who will use it as their home.
The rest of the overall church property purchase price of $1.13 million is being funded by nearly $700,000 in bonds, also approved by the City Council on Monday night. Assuming a 2 percent interest rate, those bonds will cost the city $75,000 per year over 10 years, according to a fiscal impact statement in a staff report.