LAKE PLACID — They scaled it back again.
Developers of a planned Hilton Resort condominium project brought the latest in a series of evolving design plans to Signal Hill neighbors Wednesday.
Bill DeForrest, president and CEO of Lane Hospitality, which owns and operates the Hilton Lake Placid Resort, introduced Round 3 renderings saying, “We’ve had great input from this group.”
The project, initially designed to build 46 condominiums in five stories, was reduced to 37 units in three stories over winter.
It has now been trimmed to 36 units and has stepped farther back from sidewalks and neighboring property lines.
The “refined” version incorporated suggestions made at a meeting with village residents in early March. It now requires no variances from Lake Placid land-use codes, architects said.
“We spent a lot of time on building configurations at the intersection (of Saranac Avenue and Main Street),” said project architect David Schlosser of Schopfer Architects, indicating where the design drew back 15 feet from earlier site plans.
In a multi-layered scheme, buildings closest to the intersection will be single story, Schlosser said, illustrating how it would look with several computer-generated images of the view shed overlooking Mirror Lake.
The new construction moves about 45 feet closer to the sidewalk on Saranac Avenue.
It does not occlude street views of Cobble Mountain approaching Main Street but would partially hide Mt. Whitney to the north.
Schlosser provided an early rendering of the building façade.
“We’ve tried to retain Main Street character, keeping a small mountain village look.”
The new design has multi-level peaks with spans of summer porches interspersed.
The first story builds into the ground to mitigate overall structure height.
The entire complex is an average 23 feet tall with loft peaks at 39 feet, 10 inches — two inches below the zoning limit for Adirondack Park Agency jurisdiction.
Developers said they intend to replace the linear “mass development” look of the existing cement-strip motel on the property.
Residents who share the northwest corner of Mirror Lake and its mountain views were still torn by the expansion process.
“I think it’s a very impressive-looking building,” said Pat Grant, whose property borders the proposed condo parking lot.
But, she asked aloud, “is this a positive thing for the community?”
Grant suggested that the actual building lot was smaller than architects had calculated and would allow only 30 units, according to building code.
Her personal feeling was “it’s not within the character of my neighborhood. It’s beautiful,” Grant said, “but it doesn’t really say ‘small town’ to me. It’s really going to inalterably change your experience of the neighborhood.”
Lake Placid resident Georgia Jones, who is also on the Mirror Lake Watershed Association Board of Directors, said a design to interest visitors “is not my problem.”
The planned demolition of the existing motel-type building, she added, means the project is actually a “change of use” and defined differently than “refurbish” in land-use code.
Against a well-spring of questions, developers pointed to benefits in new construction.
Schlosser said the new building will reduce the stormwater runoff problem at the current building to zero with water-retention and -treatment systems.
“Green” design elements will be included in construction plans.
And the new building, at about 25,000 additional gross square feet (all levels), will use less electric power.
After the meeting, DeForrest said that scaling back fits a market more relevant to Lake Placid.
Initial market research to build multi-million-dollar resort condos had targeted a destination resort, not necessarily a village.
The first model, DeForrest said, “wasn’t optimal for what we want to do. Lake Placid has a history, a culture, a feel. It’s why we want to be here to begin with.”
But whether the thrice-revised design fits economic objectives set by the Hilton remain to be seen.
Less can be worth more, DeForrest said.
“The destination is so attractive, people are willing to do what’s possibly more expensive because it’s of more value.”
Developers will finalize drawings over the next month or two before scheduling a review with the Joint Review Board.
E-mail Kim Smith Dedam at:
LAKE PLACID — They scaled it back again.