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Laconia motel gutted by fire was due to be demolished

by Bill Smith,
New Hampshire Union Leader

September 29. 2013 2:29AM

LACONIA ­­- A once-thriving resort motel on the Lake Winnipesaukee waterfront, which was scheduled to be demolished to make way for a luxury townhouse complex was destroyed by fire Saturday night.

The Christmas Island Resort Motel, at 630 Weirs Boulevard, had been scheduled for demolition after being sold earlier this year to a developer that plans to construct the condominium complex.

The fire broke out at about 8:50 Saturday night and a second alarm was called in within minutes of the arrival of the first fire companies at the scene.

"It was 50 percent involved when we arrived on the scene," said Laconia Fire Capt. Kirk Beattie. "That part of the complex is vacant, there was no electricity and no utilities."

No injuries were reported in the blaze, but crews remained on the scene until after 1 a.m. Sunday making sure the fire was extinguished. A half dozen nearby communities responded to a call for mutual aid.

The state Fire Marshall's office sent two investigators to join Laconia fire officials in determining the origin of the fire.

Originally constructed in 1954, the Christmas Island Motel property was sold in March for $1.1 million to Lake Houses at Christmas Island LLC, a Londonderry-based company which planned to construct several luxury-style townhouse condos on the site.

The wood-frame building was assessed by the city at $1.392 million, but fire officials said they weren't able to estimate the value of the property lost since the structure was due to be torn down.

No firefighters were injured battling fire, which produced heavy smoke and flame conditions.

Laconia zoning and planning officials approved the 18-unit condo complex earlier this year.

The plan represents a revision to the landowners' original plan to create 48 rental units and two free-standing homes and add second story to the motel building. The owner told the Laconia Zoning Board of Adjustment in February that that the original plan was not feasible and submitted the proposal for the condo complex.

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