Auctions set for Saranac Lake buildings

SARANAC LAKE – A former Mexican restaurant, a commercial building downtown that used to house the Enterprise, and several other properties in this village are slated to be sold to the highest bidders in a series of auctions here over the next few weeks.

The former Casa Del Sol restaurant on Lake Flower Avenue is scheduled to be auctioned off at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the lobby of the Essex County Courthouse in Elizabethtown.

The restaurant closed its doors in December after its owner, Bryan Morgan, declared bankruptcy while facing more than $650,000 in debts. A judgment of foreclosure was issued in favor of Community Bank in March, and the property was scheduled for auction.

Another commercial building in the village, the Fowler Block at 77 Main St., is slated to be auctioned later this month, along with 60 other properties across Franklin County. Most were seized by the county for their owners’ failure to pay property taxes.

The three-story Fowler Block was constructed in 1900 by W.S. Fowler and was the first of many buildings in Saranac Lake designed by architect William H. Scopes, according to the Historic Saranac Lake wiki website. It’s more commonly known as the old Enterprise building, as it was home to the newspaper for 47 years, beginning in 1926. It now houses two secondhand stores run by Barbara Curtis, the Main Street Exchange and Dorsey Street Exchange, and a sign in the window advertises a bicycle repair shop to come.

Franklin County seized the property in October of last year. Its prior owner, Bruce Shapiro of Land’s End Realty Corporation, owes $40,806 in back taxes dating from 2007 to this year, according to the county Treasurer’s Office. Shapiro was reportedly trying to pay the taxes and get the property removed from the list, but it was still scheduled for auction as of Tuesday morning.

Historic Saranac Lake recently put a post about the building being up for sale on its Facebook page and the building’s HSL wiki Web page.

“It’s a beautiful building, with a great history, and it’s important that it finds a good owner,” said HSL Executive Director Amy Catania. “We put it on the Facebook page because we figure hopefully somebody sees the message, hears about it, goes to the auction, and it finds a good owner.”

The county auction list includes two other properties in the village of Saranac Lake, and properties in the towns of Brighton, Franklin, Santa Clara and Tupper Lake. The auction will be held 11 a.m. June 26 at Mo’s Pub and Grill in Malone. Information about all the properties being sold is posted at and

That same day, the village of Saranac Lake will auction off another group of unused village-owned properties. The list, which the village board approved Monday night, includes three parcels: a small, seldom-used village parking lot at the corner of Bloomingdale Avenue and Broadway, next to the No. 1 Chinese restaurant; a vacant 2-acre lot behind the Harrietstown Housing Authority’s Lake Flower high-rise on Kiwassa Road; and a vacant, 0.25-acre lot on Old Military Road.

Mayor Clyde Rabideau will conduct the auction at 4 p.m. June 26 on the front steps of the Harrietstown Town Hall. He said the winning bidder for each property will have to provide 10 percent of the purchase price, or $1,000, whichever is higher, in cash at the time of the sale.

Contact Chris Knight at 518-891-2600 ext. 24 or