New plans for land surrounding Oxford Casino

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OXFORD — More than 100 acres of land, surrounding the Oxford Casino has a potential for economic development in excess of $50 million in retail and mixed use, according to Kevin Fletcher, of KW Commercial in Portland.

Fletcher, who specializes in commercial real estate for the commercial real estate arm of Keller Williams Realty and has been hired by the Thurlow Family LLC to market the Route 26 property, said some of the land could be under construction this year.

The land, which includes parcels to the east, south, north of the Oxford Casino that was consolidated about four years ago by various family members under Thurlow Family LLC, is on the market for $100,000 an acre, said Fletcher.

It is the same property that was expected to be developed by the Casalinova Development Group after its president Joe Casalinova announced in 2014 his intention, in partnership with the Thurlow family, to create seven distinct business “villages” on the land to capitalize on the economic stimulus generated by the Oxford Casino.

The family patriach, Evan Thurlow, a former Oxford selectman, sold 100 plus acres of his Crestholm Farm, where some of the family has operated the Crestholm Farm Stand, Ice Cream Stand and Greenhouses on Route 26 since 1989, to BB Development in 2010. That group of local investors constructed and opened the Oxford Casino in 2012 at the corner of Rabbit Valley Road and Route 26 before selling it to Churchill Downs in 2013.

Casalinova said at the time he would market the remainder of the property to  businesses in the service industry with the idea of creating a family-friendly retail and recreational space. There were also plans to have a second flagship or boutique hotel on site and a roughly 36,000- to 40,000-square-foot shopping center would be constructed with two levels, the first for retail and the second for offices and other mixed-use space.

Casalinova helped the Thurlow family apply for and sponsor $125 million in credit enhancements for the development of the land that is located with the town’s tax increment zone and on top of what is locally knwon as Pigeon Hill.  An initial $10 million was invested to develop the Hampton Inn.

His “master-plan” was expected to turn the farmland area into an economic engine over a five-year period, similar, he said, to the North Conway shopping area.

That Casalinova plan is now dead and ties with Casalinova Development Group have been severed by the Thurlow family, said Fletcher.

Fletcher said he has already met with with a variety of potential buyers for various parcels including those interested in developing the land to construct housing, such as condos and apartments, retail business, a convenience store, a truck stop and even another hotel.

“All kinds of different things,” he said.

ldixon@sunmediagroup.net