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Common Man on track to redevelop I-93 rest areas in Hooksett

The Common Man will transform the small rest areas on Interstate 93 in Hooksett into full-service facilities within two years, assuming the Executive Council signs off on the deal.

The state’s Long-Range Capital Planning and Utilization Committee yesterday unanimously signed off on the contract, said Rep. David Campbell, a Nashua Democrat and the committee’s chairman.

The contract will go before the five-member Executive Council this summer for approval.

The project’s details were revealed two weeks ago: a 35-year lease of the rest areas at Exit 11 with two five-year extensions, a $32 million price tag, a construction schedule aiming to open both rest areas in April 2015 and amenities that include 20,000-square-foot liquor stores, 20 fueling stations, a diner and large parking lots on each side of the highway.

Under the deal, the developer will operate the facility and pay rent to the state – a minimum of $23.2 million over 35 years and more depending on gas and retail sales; the Department of Transportation estimated the actual rent over 35 years at $38.9 million.

But the committee refused to approve the contract earlier this month without being able to identify the selected bidder. Officials from the DOT and the attorney general’s office at the time
said the name couldn’t be revealed due to ongoing lease negotiations.

(Still, the name of Granite State Hospitality LLC – a joint venture of the Ashland-based Common Man family of restaurants and Meredith’s The Inns & Spa at Mill Falls – was redacted but faintly visible on the plans distributed two weeks ago.)

Yesterday, the committee signed off on the contract with Granite State Hospitality, also called “Common Man Hooksett” in state documents.

If the Executive Council okays the project, construction would begin in October and wrap up in April 2015.

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)

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