LACONIA — The old Lakes Region Mental Health Center building downtown would be converted into a 20-unit apartment building under a proposal before the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

The 13,850-square foot, two-story property at 111 Church St., is on nearly an acre of land and includes 66 off-street parking spaces.

The project needs a zoning variance because it would exceed the density limits for the professional zone. A special exception to zoning rules would also be needed to allow a multi-family dwelling in that area.

G Property LLC, managed by Jason Ganong, is proposing the project. He declined to comment on it Monday. The matter is on the agenda for the Zoning Board’s Feb. 19 meeting.

A year ago, Lakes Region Mental Health Center moved to a renovated building on 40 Beacon St. East.

In his filing with the board, Ganong said the Church Street building has been vacant ever since.

“Given the difficulty in occupying such a large space with commercial tenants in the Laconia market, the highest and best use of the property is residential dwellings,” he stated.

“The proposed project of converting the building into 20 residential units would assist in revitalizing the downtown area of Laconia. By creating brand new units equipped with new appliances, fixtures, etc., this will bring in high quality tenants to the area.

“The building is within walking distance to Main Street in downtown, where a majority of the local, small businesses are located. The addition of 20 residential units will assist in supporting the small businesses in the area.”

He also said in the application that the proposed use is reasonable because there is a significant need for quality residential apartment units with ample off-street parking.

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