Roedel says hotel project could be finished this year

SARANAC LAKE – The man who’s leading the effort to restore the Hotel Saranac to its status as a downtown icon says there’s an outside chance the project could be complete before the end of the year.

Since New Hampshire-based Roedel Companies bought the hotel from the Arora family in early December for $1.4 million, Fred Roedel III has said the restoration process would likely not be finished until sometime in 2015.

However, in a conversation with the Enterprise this week, Roedel said it’s possible the work could be done sooner.

“If the world were perfect and everything went our way, it’s not inconceivable that this thing isn’t done around end of the year,” he said.

Work on the roughly $13 million project, which received $5 million in state funds last fall, started in earnest over the last three weeks. Crews have been gutting the building’s first floor and removing garbage from its first floor and basement. That work is expected to continue for the next few weeks.

Roedel said the timeline for the rest of the restoration should be firmed up in the next 30 days as a series of renovation “packages” come out.

“What I mean by a package is, there will be a package that’s limestone restoration, for example,” he said. “The whole first floor off Main Street that’s white – that’s limestone. It’s been painted and changed over the years, so it needs to be restored. That’ll be a package, as we call it. There will be new guest room windows. That will be a package. Cleaning the brick on the main part of the building. We’ve got a roof package, all the roofs on the building need to be replaced. Work on the Hotel Saranac sign is in there, too.”

“What happens is that package gets released by the designers, and we review it and approve it here internally and make any final adjustments. Then our construction people get on it and put it out for bid.”

Once the various packages are put out for bid, Roedel said he expects the contracts to be awarded in late May or early June, “so we can potentially begin work in June, but certainly by July.

“Then we’ve got that rough stuff going on in July and August, which is the electric, the plumbing, the sprinkler, the HVAC, all those things,” he said. “All the pieces that the state and federal historical (preservation) guys need to see would come back, we would expect based on conservative timelines, around September. That would give us October, November and December to do finishes.”

Wrapping up the project by the end of the year could be a long-shot, but it’s not out of the question, Roedel said.

“The good thing is the building is there,” he said. “We don’t have to build a new building, we just have to finish it.”

Meanwhile, local residents can expect to see work taking place on the property on an almost daily basis, Roedel said.

“One of the objectives of our group is to be swinging a hammer every day, as I call it,” he said. “The town’s excited and we want to keep everybody excited, and one way to do that is to show that there’s progress every day.”

Architecture, design team named

Earlier this week, Roedel Companies issued a press release announcing that it has selected the architectural and design teams for the multi-million dollar renovation of the hotel.

ROK Builders, the hotel construction arm of Roedel Companies, is overseeing the renovations and Burlington, Vt.-based Freeman French Freeman Inc. is the lead architect on the project. The organizations will work in tandem with their historical consultant, Kimberly Alvarez of Landmark Consulting in Albany, to bring the property up to modern standards while preserving the layout and character of the building.

Other companies involved in the project include:

-Group One Partners Inc. of Boston, Mass. – hotel and commercial space layout

-North Woods Engineering of Saranac Lake – structural engineer

-North Country Construction Services of Gabriels – site superintendent

-Rist-Frost Shumway of Laconia, N.H. – mechanical, electrical and plumbing

-RSJ Associates of Wilton, N.H. – interior design and procurement services

“Using our extensive experience in the industry, we were able to put together an experienced team of professionals and maximize every dollar invested in this project,” Roedel III, partner of Roedel Companies and president of ROK Builders said in the release. “When the Hotel Saranac reopens, it will be an upscale and full service hotel that will once again serve as a center of community life for residents and guests.”

“We couldn’t be more excited about helping to restore this jewel of the Adirondacks,” said Jesse Beck, president of Freeman French Freeman Inc. “The combination of Roedel Companies’ vision and the local community’s support makes this a very special project for everyone involved.”

Contact Chris Knight at 518-891-2600 ext. 24 or cknight@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.