No deal: Woodstock Way owners drop plan to buy funeral home, redevelop as hotel

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

All parties have parted ways from a deal to buy the Lasher Funeral Home and develop it into a hotel, just days after neighbors raised concerns about untamed development and sounded alarms over the proliferation of short-term rentals and a change of the town’s character.

“At this time, buyer and seller have a different timetable for completion of the deal and have amicably parted ways,” said a brief statement released by Ryan Giuliani and Jesse Halliburton, owners of Woodstock Way, who were in the due diligence phase of a contract to buy the 4.7-acre property at 100 Tinker Street.

They would not elaborate at this time, though the statement was approved by the Peterson family, current owners of the funeral home.

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Janet Peterson, the sole owner of the Lasher business since her son, Ken died two years ago, has sought a buyer since an exhaustive search failed to turn up anyone intending to keep the funeral business running and able to match the family’s asking price.

While parties haven’t disclosed a figure, the latest prospective buyer and funeral home operator was not able to come close to Giuliani and Halliburton’s offer.

Without a funeral home operator as a buyer, Mrs. Peterson engaged the services of real estate agent Peter Cantine, who put her in touch with Giuliani and Halliburton.

The Woodstock Way partners had proposed to tear down the funeral parlor and convert the remaining structures into four hotel rooms, a bar, a common area and retail space. They had planned to build 16 additional hotel rooms among four buildings on the back field, as well as a pool and five 1500-square-foot houses.

In response to concerns from neighbors about keeping the field open, the partners took the five houses off the table and offered to sell back the remaining space, roughly 2.2 acres, to a group that would keep it undeveloped.

Meanwhile, the E.B. Gormley and Seamon-Wilsey funeral homes have entered into an agreement with the Peterson family to manage archives and handle prearranged funeral services.

There are 3 comments

  1. Woodstocker

    Psalm 94:15 reads, “For justice will prevail and all the morally upright will be vindicated.”
    I’m proud of us all Woodstockers!
    Let’s continue to fight the good fight and allow Justice to Prevail. Happy Spring.

  2. Bill H

    Better stay very organized because the next investor is not likely to bother meeting with neighbors, gathering feedback from individuals, and adapting to the wishes of members of the community. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the Peterson family to sell to someone who cares at all about what regular folks think. This family, who needs to sell, has been trying very hard to find the best fit for the community while getting a fair price for the property and they are surely getting frustrated. At some point they are going to have to give up on appeasing inflexible neighbors who demand that someone else’s private property to be everyone’s open space. Why not organize, raise money, and offer to buy the property yourselves? Or offer your own land for open space for the community, instead of requiring that someone else do it with theirs?

    Some folks that don’t own property often think that property owners should give it away. What’s equally puzzling to me is when people that DO own property will intensely protect their own property and also think they can tell others what to do with theirs.

    Be prepared to fight one after the other until the town drafts stricter zoning laws. Right now anyone can build just about anything on that land. The next crowd could be investors that you never meet.

  3. Peter Remler

    The Town of Woodstock ought to buy the Lasher property and move the town offices there. The good folks at the library were prepared to spend a helluva lot more than the 2 million involved here. No need to fight with a developer and a more convenient way to serve the people. Despite fierce objection, the town bought the Comeau Prop. years ago and that has worked out well. So would the purchase of this beautiful space and statuesque, period building, that is so well worth preserving.

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