‘Put Up or Shut Up’ Deadline Given To Former Laconia State School Developer

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Members of the Department of Transportation and Top Notch Tree Service in Alton who sprung into action to help save a drowning jet skier in Lake Winnipesaukee on November 30, 2023, were honored Wednesday at the Governor and Executive Council meeting at the State House.


CONCORD – The state has given the potential developer of the former Laconia State School a drop-dead deadline of April 21 to close on the 200-acre property or lose its $200,000 deposit being held in escrow.

Legacy at Laconia LLC signed a purchase and sales agreement more than 15 months ago and has been delaying its closing now at least three times, this time because they lack the $21.5 million they pledged to buy the tract, said Charlie Arlinghaus, commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services.

He told the Executive Council Wednesday there is now a written “put up or shut up” deadline in writing that they have acknowledged.

He said they once did have the money in February to close but that guarantee has now lapsed and they are trying to find a loan.

“Oops,” he said of the decision to delay the closing.

Last Friday, he said he issued the letter and Gov. Chris Sununu said it is clearly stated the deadline is April 21, which is a Sunday.

Arlinghaus said the state has done everything it needs to get to the closing but it now falls on the developer, Legacy of Laconia, whose lead is Robynne Alexander, a Manchester-based developer.

She has an ambitious plan to build the former state school property into housing, retail and commercial uses.

The City of Laconia is in support of the project.

Sununu said after the meeting that if they fail to make the deadline the state will go out for more requests for proposals and is in a much better position to find a new buyer given all the work the state did in securing plans and permits, including a plan to move the state’s 9-1-1 dispatch center off the property.

Executive Councilor Ted Gatsas of Manchester, a Republican and one of the two councilors who opposed the purchase and sales agreement, said he noticed there was no champagne in the room.

“Nothing has changed since the last meeting,” Arlinghaus said, but then when prompted by the governor, said “except we have given them 30 days,” to come to the table and that expires April 21.

Gatsas said there are rumors flying around that they will not close.

“I think we will find out,” Arlinghaus said.

Sununu said April 21 “is a firm date and it is in writing and affirmed by the buyer.”

“I think we are doing the right thing,” said Arlinghaus.

Executive Councilor Janet Stevens, a Rye Republican, noted that the buyer received $3 million in InvestNH funds for workforce housing development.

“I am concerned,” Stevens said.

Arlinghaus said that is true but not related to this project.

She said it was for a project in Manchester and she said there are initial reports that employees were given preferential placement for housing.

A request for a comment from a spokesman for the project refuted the April 21 deadline, noting it is a Sunday and that the plan is to be ready to close on April 22, a Monday.

Scott Tranchemontagne, representing the developer, said in an email: “The Legacy team is working diligently with our new lender to finalize their process and secure the necessary funds to close the deal and transform this property into much needed housing for New Hampshire’s workforce, as well as community parks and venues, a retail center and a resort which implements universal design for barrier free accessibility.”


Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, D-Concord, asked about interest rates being charged to individual carriers as a result of a cyberattack on Change Healthcare.

About a month ago a cyberattack impacted Change and it has caused delays in processing half of all claims across the country.

“I would make it known that that would not sit well with me,” said D.J. Bettencourt, commissioner, who promised to look into that issue about interest.

Is it legal, Sununu asked?

“We would have to find out if that (decision) is being made at corporate or local,” Bettencourt said.

“Our providers are suffering,” said Warmington and she said she is hearing from some near closing their doors. 

“We can’t afford to lose them,” said Warmington.

Bettencourt said he held a press conference Tuesday and the message he put out was for providers suffering, and making difficult assessments to either temporarily or permanently close the doors, “we can interface with the company,” and help them.


Nancy Spaulding, District 3 Engineer for the Department of Transportation, introduced members of the department for their heroism and Top Notch Tree Service in Alton who sprung into action to help save a drowning jet skier in Lake Winnipesaukee on November 30, 2023.

Spaulding said the workers who were removing debris noticed a jetski with a gentleman in below-freezing temperatures and soon heard muffled sounds above the machinery and traffic seeking help. 

The jet ski was slowly sinking, she said.

The crews looked for a kayak and the race began to save the man, who was not identified, with many members of the crew saying they had a feeling of helplessness from shore. 

They encouraged the man to fight. His head went down numerous times but one member of the DOT crew was able to get him by kayak and had him grab a handle to the back and he was paddled in to shore and lay almost unresponsive, but was revived and helped by workers in a waiting ambulance.

“Everyone worked together and kept a cool head,” she said.

They were congratulated by the governor and received certificates of appreciation for their heroism from the council.


Democrats Erik Johnson of Lee and Jennifer Mandelbaum of Portsmouth were sworn in as new members of the state House of Representatives following special elections. The breakdown now is 201 Republicans 195 Democrats with two vacancies and two unaffiliated members.


The governor has nominated Colebrook attorney Jonathan Frizzell to be justice of the New Hampshire Superior Court and Rajesh M. Nair of Nashua to serve on the State Board of Education, succeeding Ryan Terrell of Nashua for a term ending in January, 2028.

The council confirmed Laura E.B. Lombardi of Concord as a justice in the New Hampshire Circuit Court.

It also accepted the resignation of Circuit Court Justice Michael F. Garner of Laconia who reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 in May.

Paula Tracy is InDepthNH.org’s senior writer with 30 years of reporting experience.

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