Saranac Lake hotel projects win big state support

The faded Hotel Saranac was once a centerpiece of the village economy and social life (Photo:  Susan Waters)

The faded Hotel Saranac was once a centerpiece of the village economy and social life.  A private company’s plan to redevelop the hotel won $5 million in state support today. Photo: Susan Waters

Almost ten percent of the entire North Country flow of state development dollars will flow to one small village in the Adirondacks.

Under the plan unveiled today, Saranac Lake will receive $7.1 million to promote construction and redevelopment of two hotels.

“We are thrilled and thankful for these awards and, now, an epoch of progress and prosperity is at hand for Saranac Lake,” said village Mayor Clyde Rabideau in a statement.

Saranac Lake has long been viewed as a popular visitor destination — for events like the Winter Carnival and access to the Saranac Lake chain and other outdoor destinations.

But the village has lacked modern, high-end hotel accommodations that industry experts say are needed to boost a tourism retail economy.

This funding aims to address that with support for two highly-anticipated — though also controversial — projects.

  • $5,000,000 to revitalize the Hotel Saranac, creating a full-service hotel to spur year-round tourism.
  • $2,000,000 to construct a new resort and waterfront restaurant at the former Lake Flower Hotel, and leverage private investment to diversify the region’s tourism/recreation based communities.

Chris Knight will have more on this story tomorrow morning during The EIght O’clock Hour.

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20 Responses to “Saranac Lake hotel projects win big state support”

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  1. Mervel says:

    “Under the plan unveiled today, Saranac Lake will receive $7.1 million to promote construction and redevelopment of two hotels. – See more at: http://blogs.northcountrypublicradio.org/inbox/#sthash.tK8gmnvF.dpuf

    So is the money for promotion or actually construction? What does “promote construction” mean?

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  2. Walker says:

    I think it’s just awkwardly phrased. A press release from Roedel says “To assist in the overall plan to buy and renovate the multifaceted property, the State of New York awarded Roedel Companies with $5 million in state economic funding yesterday.”

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  3. Mervel says:

    That sounds like planning money, not actual construction money. But maybe as you say it is just poorly worded. I really hope it is actually going to construction and really doing this versus more plans, studies and promotion.

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  4. Brian Mann says:

    My understanding is that these two awards are tied specifically to essentially shovel-ready hotel development projects – not processy exploratory efforts. The larger grant is going to the new owner of the Hotel Saranac, who has already taken title to his property. So that project appears fairly close to locked in. More details will be available Thursday morning from Chris Knight. — Brian Mann, NCPR

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  5. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Hey, check out this story on economic development!

    http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/23461/20131211/state-economic-subsidy-reports-lacking

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  6. Paul says:

    Brian, I don’t think these projects are really “controversial”? There is the usual NIMBY kind of stuff but that is always expected with any change. There is not any controversy that I have seen regarding the Hotel Saranac project? Can you explain?

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  7. Walker says:

    The Hotel Saranac project is pretty much the opposite of controversial– the village is welcoming it with open arms. There is a bit of NIMBY reaction to the new hotel on Lake Flower, but it appears to be pretty minor.

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  8. Paul says:

    Walker, that is exactly my take as well. In fact there is still a rail left in town to ride out anyone who suggests that the Hotel Saranac project isn’t a good idea!!

    I think they are both good. The only people I have seen complain about the other project are people who should realize their view of the lake might be compromised when they live across the street from commercial property. Heck my view of the lake down here was compromised by my neighbor. Heck of a nice guy but he likes tall houses. Bummer for me.

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  9. Will Doolittle says:

    Yay Saranac Lake. We’ve gotta get every governor to vacation there.

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  10. Mervel says:

    Well the obvious controversy is given the many many needs in the North Country why should this one little village and this one developer reap these kind of government benefits? Is this more public risk while private individuals gain?

    Certainly within Saranac Lake I can’t imagine it would not be welcomed with open arms. But many of us who do not live there would question the priority used to funnel so much money to this one project, ALL of St. Lawrence County only got around a million total from this pie.

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  11. Mervel says:

    So, many eyes will be watching to see if this pays off or not.

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  12. Mervel says:

    Why not put the money toward the development in Tupper Lake? Once you start going down the road of funding for profit ventures with public money, I think you can’t help but have controversy.

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  13. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    I love the way that Cuomo has both taken most of the credit for pork away from the legislators and at the same time made it seem like giving pork is a competitive process that he has no influence over. Genius!

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  14. Paul says:

    Mervel, no there certainly could be controversy over who got the money. But Brian seemed to indicate that there was controversy before last nights decision.

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  15. Paul says:

    Did the ACR project apply for funding? They are certainly a possible target.

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  16. Mervel says:

    Paul that is a good question.

    Often times with these awards you really can’t complain about where the money went because the place you thought should get the money didn’t even apply.

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  17. The Original Larry says:

    What a joke! Tax dollars spent on privately owned projects that aren’t economically viable in the first place. Next year I’m gong to apply for a grant: I need a new garage and the project will provide two skilled labor jobs, for a couple of weeks, anyway. It will improve the look of the community too.

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  18. newt says:

    I’d like to disagree with Larry about the value of tax dollars spent on privately owned projects, but I wonder if there has been research to base my disagreement upon. How often does public money spent on private investments create a true public good? We all know many examples of when it does not. It is certainly ethically questionable. Why should the owners of hotels in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid pay taxes that will go to build their competition? Why should SL get so much tax money for these projects, and other communities get little or none? I support the projects. I live here and want to see them built, but I do have qualms.

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  19. Paul says:

    Larry, How do you know that they are not economically viable? Have you seen the business plans and the market information? Investment in new businesses with a solid business plan and a sound management team is a good way to spend taxpayer funds if you ask me.

    Is your garage going to generate business tax revenue? What we need is more tax revenue coming from businesses taking the burden of people like you. Of course then we wouldn’t have all those income and property taxes to complain about. What fun is that?

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  20. The Original Larry says:

    If they were economically viable they would attract private investment to go along with their private ownership. They wouldn’t be in the moribund state they are now. Business plans? Please. I have written quite a few and read more than that and not one predicted failure…not one. That’s beside the point which is that tax dollars should not be used to fund private business.

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