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It’s official: I-93 service center plan OK’d for Hooksett

CONCORD — The Long Range Capital Planning and Utilization Committee approved a plan Tuesday for two new Interstate 93 service centers in Hooksett.

The Common Man’s Alex Ray or Granite State Hospitality LLC will lease the land for 35 years to construct single buildings on each side of the highway.

The centers will include state liquor stores, visitors’ centers, 1950s-style diners, Italian farmhouse restaurants, old-time delis, breakfast shops, convenience stores and 20 gas pumps.

The buildings will have a “New Hampshire mill building architectural style” according to the Department of Transportation. Construction is slated to begin in October. The northbound state liquor store is to be completed by November 2014; the southbound by March 2015.
The centers will replace the existing state liquor stores, visitors’ centers and vending machines on the northbound and southbound sides of I-93.

The lease includes two five-year options at the state’s discretion. The state will receive a minimum of $23.23 million over the 35 years of the lease and a portion of concession and gas sales that could bring the total to more than $39 million.
The welcome centers are estimated to cost $32 million, with the Liquor Commission reimbursing the developer $8.4 million for the liquor stores. The developer is to design, build, finance, maintain and operate the service areas with the exception of the liquor stores.
Maryland-based Host Internat’l and Chicago-based First Equity Group were the other bidders.

The capital planning committee delayed approving the plan two weeks ago when Department of Transportation officials on the advice of the Attorney General’s Office said they could not release the name of the winning bidder because the developer’s lender was reviewing the lease.
On Tuesday, the DOT released Ray’s name and the committee OK’d the plan; it still needs approval from the Governor and Executive Council.

The council’s next meeting is June 5.

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