SARANAC LAKE — Franklin County has thrown its support behind a New Hampshire man’s plans to seek state funding to restore the Hotel Saranac to its former glory.
This was the second time in two weeks that legislators endorsed a project that is expected to increase available lodging and draw more tourism dollars to the Adirondacks.
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Fred B. Roedel II, a partner in Roedel Companies and president of its hotel-construction arm, ROK Builders, of Wilton, N.H., announced earlier this month that he plans to buy the Hotel Saranac and create 86 rooms, renovate the ballroom and offer retail space on the first floor.
The site had been owned by Paul Smith’s College and operated by students in its hotel and restaurant management program until 2007, when the college sold the property to its current owner, Sewa Arora.
Roedel Companies plans to invest a portion of the estimated $13 million in renovation and restoration costs, but it will also file a consolidated-funding application through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council for grant funds.
Legislator Timothy Burpoe (D-Saranac Lake) said the company may have missed the application deadline for the next round of funding, to be announced this fall, but if not, Roedel could include Franklin County’s endorsement in the packet.
At a recent session, in adopting a resolution in support of the company’s application, legislators said Roedel’s vision “will rehabilitate and preserve a regionally significant historical asset” and create new jobs.
It would also “advance tourism-promotion efforts and draw more visitors and their dollars to our region on an average of $200 per night per person,” the resolution states.
“It will not only redevelop Saranac Lake and Franklin County as a tourist destination but it will create more jobs.
“And the revenue generated from the tourists will have a major impact on the economy of the community and the county,” it states.
LAKE FLOWER HOTEL
The other recent endorsement for Saranac Lake, which lies partially in Franklin County and also Essex County, supports a hotel on Lake Flower.
Malone developer Chris LaBarge of CAL Enterprises and also Lake Flower Lodging LLC is seeking variances to build a $15 million to $18 million five-story waterfront complex there in place of three existing properties: the Lake Flower Inn, Adirondack Motel and Lakeside Motel.
The site would include a banquet room, meeting space, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a spa and a high-end restaurant.
LaBarge is also a partner in Branch Commercial Development, which owns the Holiday Inn and Suites on Route 11 in the Town of Malone, and he is developing a $4 million Microtel Hotel on Route 37 behind the Rite Aid Pharmacy in the Village of Malone.
“Yes, we endorsed a project in Essex County across town, and it looks like the two projects (Hotel Saranac and Lake Flower) are in competition with each other, but I think they’re more complementary and a great opportunity for Saranac Lake,” Burpoe said.
“But the Hotel Saranac will be a great opportunity for redevelopment of downtown Saranac Lake,” he said, adding that as many as 30,000 people could be drawn there a year, which would generate sales-tax revenue for the county.
And if legislators are successful in gaining state approval for its proposed 5 percent occupancy fee on overnight guests, the potential income to the county could be even higher.
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