Deadline is Aug. 19 for Laconia State School redevelopment plan bids

Executive Council could receive specific proposal by end of year

Companies interested in redeveloping the former Laconia State School complex have until mid-August to come up with concrete proposals for revitalizing the 225-acre complex.

CBRE, the commercial real estate broker which is marketing the property, has posted a call for offers on its website. The deadline for submitting proposals is 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19.

Submissions need to include a description of the company’s development vision for the property along with a development timeline, as well as a detailed explanation of the firm’s development experience and financial capabilities.

Those submitting proposals are required to provide their company’s experience in developing projects of similar size, and include their know-how in preserving and renovating historic structures, mixed use development, and/or environmental decontamination and restoration.

Companies will also need to provide evidence of their financial capabilities to fulfill the obligations of the multiyear development project and include a feasibility study of the envisioned project to determine its financial viability.

Once the offers have been received, they will be reviewed by members of the staff of the state Department of Administrative Services, Commissioner Charlie Arlinghaus, who heads the department, said.

Once department staffers have done the “initial sorting” of the offers, Arlinghaus expects his department will then discuss specifics with the individual applicants. He characterized those discussions as “conversations rather than negotiations.”

“This is different from just a sale,” Arlinghaus said. “This is buying a piece of property for a radically different use.”

For 90 years, the complex was the state-run institution for people with developmental disabilities. After the State School closed in 1991 a few of the buildings were converted into a state prison which operated until 2009. Since then, most of the compound, located 2½ miles from downtown, has sat idle.

Arlinghaus said there is the possibility of setting up an ad hoc group to review the development proposals that meet the criteria spelled out in the request for offers.

“We want significant advice from people with different perspectives,” he said, noting, “We’re making a significant investment in the long-term culture and economy of the region.”

The final decision on selling the property rests with the Executive Council.

Arlinghaus said he hoped a specific proposal could be presented to the Executive Council sometime late this year or early next year.

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