MEREDITH — A public-private land swap has sparked the first step in the redevelopment of a key intersection in downtown Meredith.
In March 2018, Meredith residents voted at Town Meeting to authorize selectmen to sign over a municipal parking lot on Route 3 in exchange for a similar-sized parcel of land on the opposite side of the highway.
On Tuesday, crews from Danley Demolition of Fremont were busy using excavators to tear down derelict buildings on the two sites to make way for future construction.
Scott Mitchell of Gilford, manager of VLIEG of Meredith LLC, who agreed to convey a former laundromat on a 0.53-acre site at 320 Daniel Webster Highway to the town in exchange for a 0.92-acre property at 323 Daniel Webster Highway, said he had no definitive plans just yet, but is exploring a number of options.
“With everything going on in the world right now with COVID-19 it is not the best time. But the town wanted the buildings that have been an eyesore torn down,” said Mitchell.
“We just really love Meredith. That is where we always go to have dinner and boat. My wife and I really just want to do something that fits in nicely with the community and is something we can both be proud of,” said Mitchell, founder and principal of Tropic Star Development, based in Hampton.
The property remained in limbo for many years as the town and the state Department of Transportation struggled to reach agreement on a plan to ease traffic congestion at the intersection, which IS often bottlenecked during peak summer months.
Under the terms of the agreement, the town conveyed the municipal parking lot that abuts a one-story, two-unit commercial building that had most recently housed Aubuchon Hardware and a pizzeria. For many years, the property was home to a grocery store and a dairy bar, but it has sat vacant since the hardware store moved to new quarters at 38 NH Route 25.
In return, VLIEG conveyed the former Thriftamat Inc. laundromat property across Route 3 at 320 Daniel Webster Highway. The agreement was for an even exchange without any additional monetary consideration to either party.
The laundromat property is eyed as prime municipal parking as it is closer to downtown shops and eateries, and should help ease Main Street parking pressure.
According to town assessing records, the municipal parking lot is valued for tax purposes at $242,500. The parcel VLIEG gave to the town is assessed for $254,400.
VLIEG purchased the two-unit building constructed in 1957 from Meredith Village Savings Bank in January 2017. VLIEG also purchased the abutting three-story condominium office building that had most recently been home to a wedding and party planning business. The property and three buildings, all of which are being razed, are assessed for tax purposes at $1.1 million.
Corporate records at the state Secretary of State list Mitchell as manager for Hampton-based VLIEG, which was formed in January 2017. The Limited Liability Corporation is described as having a principal purpose of real estate, and rental and leasing of non-residential buildings.