Cuomo takes interest in Hotel Saranac project

SARANAC LAKE – Gov. Andrew Cuomo has reportedly taken an interest in a New Hampshire-based company’s plan to buy and renovate the Hotel Saranac.

The governor participated in a conference call about Roedel Companies’ proposal Monday with village Mayor Clyde Rabideau and Empire State Development President and CEO Ken Adams. That’s according to Rabideau and Fred Roedel III, a principal in Roedel Companies and president of its hotel construction arm, ROK Builders.

Adams then traveled to Saranac Lake Tuesday for a face-to-face meeting with Rabideau and Roedel, who came from his company’s headquarters in Wilton, N.H., for the sit-down.

The meeting took place just over a week after the application deadline for state economic development funds for projects across New York. Roedel Companies has applied through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council for $5 million from the state toward its overall $13 million plan to purchase the 86-room Hotel Saranac from the Arora family and “restore it to its historic grandeur.”

“Hopefully we can get that application on the fast track and get it done,” Roedel told the Enterprise prior to Tuesday’s meeting.

Rabideau said he talked with Cuomo about the Hotel Saranac at the Adirondack Challenge whitewater rafting races in Indian Lake last month.

“In our conversation with the governor, he expressed his interest in the Hotel Saranac and said to please let him know personally if something ever moved on it, to which I replied I definitely would,” Rabideau said Tuesday. “So after alerting his office about the potential deal that Mr. Roedel has put together with the current Hotel Saranac owner, the governor reached out in a conference call with himself, Mr. Adams and a high-ranking member of his office staff to find ways to make this deal happen. He asked the top person at Empire State Development to meet with us today to explore ways to make this project work.”

Rabideau said he, Roedel and Adams had lunch at Nonna Fina restaurant on River Street, then met for two hours at the village offices in the Harrietstown Town Hall. The mayor said the meeting went well.

“We’re just trying to be creative and get Ken Adams up to speed and look at different ways to make it go,” he said. “It’s very early in the process, and we’re all committed to helping as much as we can. I’m very thankful to the governor’s interest and that of Ken Adams in Saranac Lake. There’s 19 million people in the state of New York, and we’re a village of 5,400, and to have that kind of personal attention from the governor himself and from Mr. Adams is humbling and overwhelming.”

“The opportunity today was to explore another option to help get this project financed,” Roedel said after the meeting. “It was a very productive conversation, and we think we’ve got some good alternatives to evaluate.”

If everything goes as planned, Roedel said he hopes to close on the hotel “very quickly,” begin the renovations this year and reopen the hotel sometime next year.

Roedel said he also sat down last week to discuss the project with Rabideau, Harrietstown Supervisor Bob Bevilacqua and town Councilman Ron Keough, and Franklin County Legislator Tim Burpoe.

At a meeting Thursday, county legislators passed a resolution, sponsored by Burpoe, supporting Roedel Companies’ funding application to the state. The resolution says the “acquisition will have a significant impact on tourism in Saranac Lake, Franklin County and the region as it will advance tourism promotion efforts and draw more visitors and their dollars into our region.”

Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or