Motel owners cite reasons for selling

SARANAC LAKE – Owners of the three Lake Flower Avenue motels under contract to sell their properties to Malone hotel developer Chris LaBarge gave different reasons for doing so in separate interviews with the Enterprise Wednesday.

David Manning has owned the 20-unit Lake Side Motel for 23 years. He said he’s been trying to sell it for two years. LaBarge approached him through the real estate broker he was working with, Manning said.

“I’m ready to retire and have been for a couple years, so I hope everything works out,” he said.

Manning said the proposed five-story, 90-room hotel would provide a boost to the area.

“These motels have been here for a lot of years, and it needs a new uplift and some new clientele for the area,” he said. “The business trends have changed a lot. I think people are looking for a restaurant on property and other activities and amenities.”

Kim Walasky has run the 14-unit Lake Flower Inn for the past 15 years. She now closes it for the winter.

“It’s hard doing it by yourself, but I’m not in any hurry to sell,” she said. “I have time. I’m content with my life now.

“The town needs it,” Walasky added. “The town needs something, and this is a perfect spot for it. We need to draw some people in here, and mom-and-pop places are going down. They aren’t coming up; that’s for sure.”

Susan Mueller, who has owned the 13-unit Adirondack Motel with her husband Fred for the past nine years, said signing a contract to sell was a difficult decision.

“It was a decision that we probably never thought we’d be making at this point yet,” she said. “We love what we do, but I think the timing just presented itself to us. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that we saw other motels in the area that had been on and off the market for several years, and I guess we just thought it was opportune.”

Mueller said she likes that LaBarge’s hotel is being designed to fit with the historic architecture of the village.

“I think he is being very sensitive to the aesthetic and what fits in with the village of Saranac Lake,” she said.

All three motel owners said their businesses will continue welcoming guests and operating as normal while the hotel project is in the review process.

Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or