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Redevelopment of I-93 rest areas in Hooksett gets green light from Executive Council

The rest areas on Interstate 93 in Hooksett will be transformed over the next two years into full-service facilities operated by the Common Man.

The Executive Council yesterday voted, 5-0, to approve a contract for the redevelopment of the rest areas at Exit 11, which today offer few amenities beyond bathrooms, vending machines and a pair of state liquor stores.

Under the deal, the state will lease the two rest areas for at least 35 years to Granite State Hospitality, a joint venture of the Ashland-based Common Man family of restaurants and Meredith’s The Inns & Spa at Mill Falls.

The Common Man will redevelop the rest areas into full-service facilities featuring restaurants, a welcome center, gas stations and expanded liquor stores. Officials said the new facilities will employ the equivalent of 137 full-time permanent employees, not including jobs at the liquor stores.

“Those are going to be really state-of-the-art facilities that provide a . . . unique Granite State stamp on our welcome centers as people come into the state, in Hooksett,” said Gov. Maggie Hassan. “And it’s going to create a lot of permanent jobs, as well as construction jobs, too. So that’s very good news.”

The project is expected to cost $32 million, with $8.4 million coming from the New Hampshire Liquor Commission. The state will get a minimum of $23.2 million in rent over the 35-year period, and more depending on gas and retail sales.

Construction is expected to begin in October and wrap up on both sides of the highway by April 2015.

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

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