LACONIA — A cluster of buildings just off Lakeport Square will soon be coming down to make way for a major mixed-use building that will bring redevelopment to one of the oldest sections of the city.
Crews are working to remove any hazardous materials from the five buildings that will be demolished to make way for the 29,500-square-foot commercial-residential building that will occupy a third of a block between Railroad Avenue and Park Street, said Mike Lokken, the construction project manager for Paugus Properties.
Lokken estimated the entire remediation process would take seven to 10 days and that actual removal of any materials would occur this week.
“It has to be done in a system,” he said of the remediation work which needs to be completed before the demolition work can begin.
The new building will have commercial/retail space on the ground floor and 17 residences on the upper two floors.
The project is the second major development in Lakeport undertaken by Scott Everett. He is currently restoring the 138-year-old Lakeport Opera House in Lakeport Square, which includes The Laconia Daily Sun and Wayfarer Coffee Roasters as tenants. Work is currently underway to restore the 250-seat theater on the second floor of the building, which is expected to open next summer.
Actual demolition of the Elm Street buildings is expected to begin within a couple of weeks, according to City Planning Director Dean Trefethen.
Lokken said the demolition will take some time. The five buildings, four of which are attached, will be brought down in stages. Crews from Spears Brothers will use excavators to bring down the structures, he said.
Once the site is cleared the excavation work will begin and then crews will begin taking the measurements for the foundation of the new building.
“Building doesn’t stop during the winter,” Lokken said.
Special winter mix concrete will be poured and heat blankets will be brought in when they pour the floor.
Chemicals — called accelerators — are added to concrete poured in sub-freezing weather. The chemicals help the concrete to set, and once concrete is set it cannot freeze.
Lokken expected that actual construction of the steel-frame building will begin sometime in February.