By: Paul Briand, Seacoast Online
Judging from social media, a lot of people were surprised at the bang-bang closing announcements of two downtown coffee shops late last month.
But, for two real estate brokers based in Portsmouth, the changes are just part of the normal ebb and flow in the downtown market that they say remains very desirable to commercial and retail enterprises.
“The demand is there in downtown Portsmouth,” said Christian Stallkamp, senior broker with the Boulos Company, a commercial brokerage company at 14 Manchester Square at Pease International Tradeport. “Businesses want to be there, and they’re willing to pay that dollar amount.”
“Leases come up all the time,” added David Choate, executive vice president of Colliers International at 500 Market St. “There’s always that ebb and flow. New tenants come in. Some tenants just move from one location to another for better visibility.”
Social media started to buzz in late December with the announcements that Breaking New Grounds and Profile Coffee Bar were closing.
Breaking New Grounds, located in the heart of Market Square, announced Dec. 28 it was closing for good Jan. 3 in order to sell its building to Tuscan Kitchen, which plans to move its market from its current location on Lafayette Road to the downtown location and add a café.
By: Michael Cousineau, NH Union Leader
The foliage may be a little slower than usual in turning this year, but that isn’t bothering the folks at the RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountain in Lincoln.
“It’s just going to help push us into late October (with more bookings),” General Manager Renee Blood said this week. “From a business perspective, it’s great all the way around.”
State travel officials on Wednesday predicted a record number of visitors and spending for the upcoming Columbus Day Weekend, the state’s third-busiest travel weekend of the year. The New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development expects more than 300,000 out-of-state, overnight visitors will spend more than $115 million in New Hampshire over the long weekend — a 5 percent increase in both spending and visitor totals over last year.
“Huge; it’s a really big weekend,” said Mary Ellen Delaney, co-owner of Delaney’s Hole in the Wall, a North Conway restaurant.
“Consistently over the past couple of years, the fall is very busy and people start coming in the first week in September and will continue to come in until the middle of November,” Delaney said. “That hasn’t changed in the last five years. It stays very, very busy. Weekends, it escalates.”
By: Ryan Lessard, Union Leader Correspondent
Tuscan Brands CEO Joe Faro says he made changes to the Tuscan Village development to expand outdoor entertainment after visiting new developments across the country.
The recently updated plans took a single structure that would have housed a cinema and bowling alley and split it into two buildings. The gap between them will be a courtyard used for outdoor shows such as music concerts, festivals and other forms of family-friendly entertainment. It can also be used as a skating rink with a Christmas tree in the winter.
“The Tuscan Village will program that entertainment as a service to the development,” Faro said.
He said the buildings bordering the courtyard will have restaurants in the upper floors with terraces on which people can eat, drink and watch the show below.
Faro said he thinks it would give people more reason to visit the new downtown space. He got the idea after visiting a number of “aspirational” developments in states including Texas, Ohio and California.
“There’s some interesting things happening,” Faro said.
At the Legacy West development in Dallas, Texas, Faro was particularly awed by a country music concert in an outdoor stage area made of shipping containers with a gravel floor; diners in second- or third-floor restaurants could watch the show.
By: NHBR Staff
Bay Point, one of the premier inns of the Mill Falls at the Lake in Meredith, NH, has undergone an extensive renovation.
The 24-room hotel on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee boasts a crisp, modern ambiance with a nautical theme and many updated features.
Situated at the tip of Meredith Bay, with long, direct views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the Belknap and White Mountain ranges gracing the horizon, Bay Point at Mill Falls has unparalleled vistas.
During the 1950s and early 1960s, the spot was home to a restaurant, but, in 1968, the property was redeveloped into a three-story office building that became the home of Meredith Bank and Trust. When it came up for sale in 1993, the owners of the nearby Mill Falls Inn and Marketplace were able to work out an agreement to purchase the site.
“When I went over to look at the building to understand what it was like ... I realized it was set up to be very easily converted into a hotel,” said Rusty McLear, owner of Mill Falls at the Lake and longtime resident of Meredith. “It was flat-roofed and concrete. It looked like anything you’d see in New Jersey. But I realized we could put a peaked roof on it, and we could really make it look like something. It was a pretty easy renovation and restoration.”
By: Bea Lewis, Union Leader
Laconia is rolling out the red carpet to host the 95th annual Motorcycle Week Saturday through June 17.
State and city leaders gathered Thursday morning at Gunstock Recreation Area in Gilford to announce the newest offerings at the event, coupled with the theme of urging participants to ride safe.
Laconia Police Chief Matt Canfield said safety is the department’s top priority and strongly urged attendees not to drink and drive.
“Our goal is to have zero traffic fatalities during this year’s event,” he said.
Maj. Matthew Shapiro, operations bureau commander of the New Hampshire State Police, said the agency’s motorcycle unit will be escorting four different charity rides during the week.
Cynthia Makris, president of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, said the event has earned the AMA designation of being the oldest rally in the world because of a loyal following of riders who return year after year.
By: Robert Garrova, NHPR
A new lodging option opens next week in North Conway. But instead of booking summer vacationers, owner George Wu says he’s marketing to a different group: International Student Workers.
Wu graduated from UNH with a hospitality degree in 2006. Now he owns vacation rentals in Carroll County. But during the busy seasons, he found he was often turning away international students who come to the U.S. to work and travel on what are called J-1 visas.
“The lightbulb went off and I was actually like ‘Oh, I should start converting some of my units into student housing,’” says Wu.
So, Wu turned a bright-yellow strip of rooms that used to be the Maple Leaf Motel right off White Mountain Highway into the Work and Travel Lodge. Here Wu hopes he can attract students from Europe, South America and all around the world. When students aren’t working at local restaurants, hotels and retail shops, Wu says he’ll offer hiking, tubing and kayak trips. But is the international student market big enough?
“We’ll have to find out,” Wu says. “It’s a very limited clientele.”
According to the State Department, last summer saw a peak of about 250 work travel participants in North Conway.
Read this article on NHPR.com.
By: Kevin Landrigan, Union Leader
Here’s the good holiday weekend news: Experts expect the biggest crowds in more than a decade to hit the road, even though people have to pay more to fill up their tanks.
“The highest gas prices since 2014 won’t keep travelers home this Memorial Day weekend,” said Pat Moody, director of public affairs for AAA Northern New England. “A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are giving Americans all the motivation they need to kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season with a Memorial Day getaway.”
Here’s the bad news: The traffic tie-ups will be at their worst starting today, and delays could be three times greater than normal, according to INRIX, a global transportation analytics company.
More New Englanders will be driving to their holiday destinations than in any year since 2005, officials said. AAA said 1.7 million people are expected to travel in New England, 90 percent of them by car. Another 150,000 people will be flying, according to the travel forecast.
By: Paul Feely, New Hampshire Union Leader
Citing the successful closure of a portion of Elm Street to vehicular traffic earlier this month in support of a taco-eating event, city aldermen will explore the possibility of closing Manchester’s “main street” more often in the future.
Alderman At Large Joe Kelly Levasseur raised the possibility under the “New Business” portion of Tuesday night’s meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at City Hall.
“Today is one of the most exciting days as an alderman,” said Levasseur. “It’s always been a dream of mine to close Elm Street. It’s something I’ve been pushing quietly for a very long time, and I’m very surprised by a strong outpouring of support from the aldermen.”
On May 3, Elm Street was closed between Lake Avenue and Bridge Street from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. for an annual taco-eating event that regularly draws 20,000-plus people to the downtown area.
By: Roger Amsden, Laconia Daily Sun
David McGrath, general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, says that he and the staff at New England’s largest professional sports venue aren’t looking in the rear view mirror as the 2018 event season opens.
“We’re very focused on the events we’ll be hosting this year and maintaining the close relationships we have with our fans and the town of Loudon. We know how to host major events and make them enjoyable experiences. We’re a world class track and we’re engaged and hitting on all cylinders,” said McGrath.
He says NHMS moved quickly to fill in the hole left in its schedule by the loss of its September NASCAR race to its sister track in Las Vegas. This fall will mark the first time in 20 years that the track will have only one top-tier NASCAR race.
By MICHAEL COUSINEAU
SALEM — L.L. Bean, Legal Sea Foods and Boston Interiors are talking with the developer of Tuscan Village about possibly locating at the nearly $1 billion development.
“It gives New Hampshire a head start into creating its own economic bubble,” developer Joe Faro said during a tour of the site, in the shadow of the Mall at Rockingham Park.
The project, on the former Rockingham Park site, calls for 2.75 million square feet of new development on 170 acres, including 50 acres in North Tuscan Village.
It will create an estimated 6,000 jobs, Faro said.
Upward of 300 people are working on the site now, with 2,000 construction workers expected within the next year, said Faro, CEO of Tuscan Brands Development.
Faro, who lives in Hampton, said the property will produce $10 million in new property taxes yearly.
The first residents to move onto the property — in new apartments with a starting price of about $2,000 a month — are expected in August.
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