An excavator to break ground on the new Dunkin Donuts being built next to the Hathaway House on Union Avenue in Laconia Tuesday morning.

An excavator to break ground on the new Dunkin' Donuts being built next to the Hathaway House on Union Avenue in Laconia Tuesday morning.

John Koziol reports in the Citizen of Laconia  that its been two years in the planning and lots of discussion to preserve the Hathaway House later, Cafua Management of North Andover, Mass. broke ground Tuesday morning on its newest Dunkin’ Donuts coffee shop in the city.

Cafua, which owns five Dunkin’ Donuts franchises in and around Laconia as well as 11 in the Lakes Region and more than 200 in New England, Florida and New York, leases but does not own the land and building at 1091 Union Ave. that is its current Lakeport home.

In 2003, the company bought the parcel across the street and in 2008 Cafua received approval from the Laconia Planning Board to develop the lot, which is located between Trustworthy Hardware and the Hathaway House.

The approval, however, came after a long negotiation between the city, Cafua, residents and the Lakeport Community Association to eventually preserve what is believed to be one of the oldest houses in the east part of Lakeport.

Built in 1870 by Samuel Clement Clark, a well-known attorney who contemplated running for governor, the Hathaway House is a large salmon pink-colored Victorian at 1106 Union Ave. that at one time was home to a clothing store of that name, a restaurant and several small businesses.

Initially, Cafua proposed to build a 24-seat Dunkin’ Donuts and a two-story retail office building totaling 15,438 square feet on a 1.6-acre parcel where the Hathaway House currently stands. But that plan entailed razing the Hathaway House, something that didn’t sit well with residents or the city.

The Lakeport group, with lots of support from the City Council, convinced Cafua to spare the Hathaway House while also getting it to agree to make improvements to the structure and to turn it into professional office space.

The fight to save the Hathaway House led to the establishment of the city’s Heritage Commission, which recently recommended to the City Council that it tell Cafua, when it restores the Hathaway House, to return it to its original color scheme of taupe, cream and dark green.

At 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, beneath a light drizzle and a swarm of black flies, Ward 6 City Councilor Armand Bolduc was happy that Cafua would soon begin its work on the new Dunkin’ Donuts and also repair and update the siding on the Hathaway House. He added that the location of the new Dunkin’ Donuts will be roomier and much easier for customers to enter and leave than the current one.

City Manager Eileen Cabanel said she was equally happy, letting out a big “yay!” while Ward 5 Councilor Bob Hamel looked on and smiled proudly.

Joe Denn, who is Cafua’s director of operations and Mike Adams, who is the company’s district manager, said the Dunkin’ Donuts should be complete within three months of construction, which began Tuesday.

“We’re very excited to be going across the street,” said Adams, while Denn added that Cafua was “thrilled to have saved the building (the Hathaway House) with the city.”

Citizen of Laconia