Village supports hotels’ grant applications

SARANAC LAKE – The village board agreed Monday night to write letters in support of grant applications for both of the big hotel projects announced in recent weeks.

Developers who plan to buy and renovate the Hotel Saranac, as well as the developer who plans to build a five-story, 90-room hotel on Lake Flower, are both applying for grant funding through the state’s Consolidated Funding Application process. Applications for the grants, through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council, are due Monday.

Malone-based developer Chris LaBarge, who hopes to build the Lake Flower hotel with his newly-formed Lake Flower Lodging LLC, was at the board’s Monday night meeting and said his project aligns the NCREDC’s objectives, as well as a number of plans for Saranac Lake, like the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, the village comprehensive plan and the Saranac Lake Destination Master Plan.

His plans to buy three existing motels on Lake Flower, raze them and build the upscale hotel are expected to cost between $15 million and $18 million.

The New Hampshire-based Roedel Companies announced plans Monday to seek funding to buy and renovate the Hotel Saranac, a Saranac Lake institution that has fallen into disrepair and lost customers in recent years. There were no details about the financial aspects for the project available by press time, but the company also plans to seek state funding for the project.

Mayor Clyde Rabideau said after the board agreed to write letters in support of both projects that he’s excited about the prospect of them.

“It’s really exciting that there’s $30 million on the table tonight from two different developers for two different hotel resort projects,” Rabideau said. “How often does that happen in the Adirondacks? How often? But it’s happening here in the capital of the Adirondacks. I’m very pleased. There’s a lot of hurdles to go through. It’s not a done deal for either of them. But notwithstanding, it’s a real positive sign for Saranac Lake.”

After the meeting, Trustee Paul Van Cott and the Facebook page Team Saranac Lake started recruiting people to try to put pressure on the governor’s office about the hotel projects. Van Cott shared a Facebook status with a number of people in the Saranac Lake area.

“Saranac Lake has an incredible opportunity and it is time for all of us to step up and participate,” the post read. “The Hotel Saranac and a proposed hotel on Lake Flower both have submitted grant applications to the State for funding. We need to show our support for making Saranac Lake a destination. Businesses and residents and everyone who cares about Saranac Lake need to weigh in. We need to go to the Governor’s office and say how important this is to Saranac Lake. This is our hour, folks. Let’s go!”

NCCC application

The village also agreed to write a letter supporting North Country Community College’s application for Cleaner Greener Communities funding. If it wins money, the college plans to install a wood pellet boiler to help heat and power the college’s Sparks Athletic Complex, Evans said.