LACONIA — Four commercial real estate brokers have submitted proposals to try and find a buyer to redevelop the Laconia State School complex, but a recommendation as to whether any of those proposals should be accepted is at least weeks off, according to an official involved in the process.
Four proposals were received by the Department of Administrative Services, according to Jared J. Nylund, a real property assistant manager for the agency which manages state property among other functions.
Nylund declined to identify the firms which submitted proposals, saying he could not divulge that information while the proposals are being reviewed.
He said the department would start examining the proposals this week, but said how long that process could take was undetermined.
On the one hand, Nylund said the department hoped to make a decision “as soon as possible,” but he cautioned that it could take time to complete the review because the property is in serious disrepair.
“This is not a typical RFP (request for proposals) because of all the complexities” of the property, which consists of about 250 acres and 27 buildings, some more than 100 years old, Nylund said.
It would appear that the selection of a firm will not take place by the end of the summer as called for in the RFP.
Once the agency recommends a broker, the matter will be forwarded to the Governor and Council which has the final say in the sale of state property.
A special panel was formed four years ago to lay the groundwork to come up with a comprehensive plan to market the complex for private development. That panel is continuing its work, but in July the Administrative Services Department, at the behest of Gov. Chris Sununu, advertised a proposal to sell the property “as is with all its faults.”
The proposal states that many buildings will need to be demolished and the existing campus infrastructure removed.
“The Department also acknowledges the risks inherent in this project: that no suitable buyer may be identified or that the highest and best offer received may be close to zero dollars,” the proposal reads.
The city has criticized Sununu for putting the sale of the property on the fast track.
Mayor Andrew Hosmer and the City Council are concerned that the move to speed up the process to sell the property could result in a development that will not be in the city’s best economic interest.
The deadline for submitting proposals was extended two weeks because of last-minute interest by some brokers. Representatives of three firms toured the property. But it is unknown if any of them submitted proposals.