SARANAC LAKE — A hotel management company based in New Hampshire has contracted to buy the Hotel Saranac.
Fred B. Roedel III is a partner of Roedel Companies and president of its hotel-construction affiliate, ROK Builders.
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His family has owned a summer residence in the Saranac Lakes region since the 1800s, according to the company’s announcement.
The redevelopment project seeks “to restore the property to its historic grandeur by renovating the ballroom, lobby, 86 guestrooms and first-floor retail space,” Roedel said in a prepared statement.
The developer is also seeking grant funding from the North Country Regional Economic Development Council to support the project.
Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau said the Village Board of Trustees approved a resolution supporting the grant application for Roedel Co. at a special meeting on Monday.
The board recently passed a similar resolution for Lake Flower LLC, which intends to build a hotel on four Lake Flower waterfront parcels.
Two weeks ago, Malone Realtor and developer Chris LaBarge announced the plan for a new five-story, 90-room hotel to be built in place of three existing motels there.
Both hoteliers are seeking grant funds for economic development from the Development Council, Rabideau said.
He did not know the amounts sought for either grant.
“They have not finalized their grant applications,” Rabideau said.
But he did not see their requests as competing efforts.
“Everything revolves around job creation. Traditionally, it’s a 20 percent gap funding (that is) provided. For example, the Clayton Hotel Resort earned 20 percent of total project funding due to the number of jobs they anticipate will be created,” Rabideau explained.
“The two hotels would complement each other. They are both going to establish quality hotels with a mix of amenities.
“The Lake Flower project would be built on the water; the Hotel Saranac restoration is based in the business community.
“And there’s a synergy between them, adding (almost) 180 good quality rooms to the lodging inventory in the Village of Saranac Lake, which means we could attract conferences.”
Rabideau said the village does not have enough accommodations for large groups, including rooms for all of the rugby players, for instance, who had to stay in neighboring Lake Placid last weekend.
“And this year, the colleges held graduations on the same weekend. We did not have rooms to accommodate all of the guests.”
It is not unusual that two hotel developers are looking to expand resources in Saranac Lake at once, he said. The timing validates planning and growth that has proceeded strategically over the past several years.
“Hotels come at the end of a process,” Rabideau said.
“In the last few years, Saranac Lake has been putting together that list of amenities. We have many new restaurants, vibrant downtown shops and a variety of things to do: the Adirondack Carousel is in place; the museum created at Historic Saranac Lake’s Trudeau Laboratory; Saranac Sixers hiking very close to town; paddling opportunities right out the front door; the Stevenson cottage, to name a few.
“We’re hitting that critical mass of things to do.”
Rabideau said the addition of two biotech companies also adds to the demand for hotel space.
And he does not believe the simultaneous application by two hoteliers seeking grant resources adds undue competition to the award process.
“Why not? Saranac Lake hasn’t received any grants yet (from the Regional Council).”
The deadline for the next round of council grants is Monday, Aug. 12. Monies are usually awarded in late fall.
The Hotel Saranac sale is under contract, Rabideau confirmed.
But he was not party to the sale price or the amount Roedel has planned to invest.
Calls to the Roedel office in Wilton, N.H., were not returned Tuesday morning.
OWNS MANY HOTELS
LaBarge said in July that new construction of his hotel on Lake Flower would come in between $15 million and $18 million.
He completed the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Malone in 2010 and had initially hired a Roedel subsidiary, RGH Hospitality, to operate the facility.
“We changed the management company for the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Malone on January 1, 2012,” LaBarge said.
The Malone property is now managed by a third-party company, High Peaks Hospitality LLC, based in Syracuse.
According to the prepared statement, Roedel Companies owns and operates numerous hotels in the eastern United States.
“Roedel Companies’ growing portfolio includes nationally branded, select service hotels, including Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Holiday Inn Express & Suites and La Quinta Inn & Suites properties,” it said.
“The organization recently acquired a full service Holiday Inn in Mount Kisco, New York, which will undergo a multi-million dollar renovation this fall.”
‘WILL DRIVE VITALITY’
There has been no indication that the Hotel Saranac would rebrand under a major hospitality label.
“Upon completion of the renovations, the hotel will drive vitality and economic stability to the area,” Roedel said.
“The restoration of the property and ballroom will allow the hotel to serve as the venue for special events and milestones.”
Hotel Saranac, in the center of the village business district, was sold by Paul Smith’s College in 2007 to hotelier Sewa R. Arora from the Hauppague area.
The college ran the facility for many years as a training center for hotel and culinary students.
Paul Smith’s sold it to shore up losses from operation, as it was reportedly costing more to staff the hotel than incoming guest-revenue could support.
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