Breaking: Saranac Lake scores 2nd big hotel deal

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 (Photo: Susan Waters)

Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau says a hotel developer has signed a contract to purchase the venerable Hotel Saranac, a faded icon that sits in the middle of the village.

According to Rabideau, the developer’s proposal to refurbish and revitalize the brick structure will be discussed at a village meeting tonight.

(See full press release below.)

This news comes less than two weeks after another developer announced plans to build a new, high-end hotel on the shore of Lake Flower.

In an interview today, Rabideau said the two projects together would serve to revitalize Saranac Lake’s downtown.

To move forward, both projects will apparently require grants and other financial support from the state of New York.

The Hotel Saranac deal comes seven years after hotel-owner Sewa Arora purchased the property from Paul Smiths College.  From the start, Arora’s management practices drew criticism from members of the community.

Long a destination for weddings, public events, and galas, the imposing structure fell into disuse, with some community leaders worrying that it might go bankrupt.

Rabideau described this latest effort to revive the hotel as a crucial step for his village’s downtown.

Meanwhile, the developer of the waterfront property near Pontiac Bay, Malone’s Chris LaBarge, has asked for a zoning change to facilitate construction of his project, according to a report in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

If granted, it would mean a series of land-use code variances Chris LaBarge of Lake Flower Lodging had requested for the hotel project, including for the height of the building, wouldn’t come before the village Zoning Board of Appeals.

Instead those issues would be taken up during the planned unit development district process.

That change will likely be discussed at tonight’s 5pm meeting of village trustees in Saranac Lake.


A major hotel development company notified Mayor Clyde Rabideau that it has reached an agreement to purchase the Hotel Saranac from its current owners and is seeking village support for its grant funding request to the North Country RegionalEconomic Development Council before the August 12th application deadline.
Fred Roedel III, a fourth-generation summer resident of Saranac Lake and a principal in the Roedel Companies, announced the company’s plans to the mayor and other local and state officials last week as the company is putting together a grant funding application for part of the projected investment.
At tonight’s special village board meeting, the mayor and trustees will vote on a letter of support for the grant funding application.
Mayor Rabideau commented, “This is terrific news for the village and, though it’s not a done deal and there are many hurdles to overcome, the intended renovation and restoration of the hotel will bring new vibrancy to Saranac Lake, especially our Downtown, as the Hotel Saranac is the icon of the community and is downtown’s centerpiece.”
The special meeting will get underway at 5 PM in the Village Hall on Main Street.



5 Comments on “Breaking: Saranac Lake scores 2nd big hotel deal”

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  1. Ginny Alfano says:

    This is music to my ears!! My husband and I spent many happy weekends at Hotel Saranac when it was still owned by Paul Smith’s. The accommodations were perfect and the food was to die for – both at incredibly reasonable prices. Life got in the way for a few years and we were unable to make it back. Imagine our dismay when we did go back and found “our” beloved hotel was no longer the same. We didn’t even know it had been sold! The people were so rude to us, the food was awful, and the ambiance gone. Needless to say, we NEVER went back. We can only hope that with the possibility of new owners, that the place we had grown to love so long ago, will once again be the grand icon she so deserves to be! We will then, once again, be proud to return.

  2. dave says:

    Kuddos to Clyde and the community of Saranac Lake.

    An Adirondack town that is turning things around with energy, creativity, and positivity.

    Some would have us believe this was not possible. Glad to see you proving them wrong.

  3. newt says:

    The fact that Saranac Lake has survived, and even prospered after the stab in through heart of the town that the Paul Smiths leadership and the pitiful excuse of a proprietor perpetrated on the community speaks volumes about the qualities of the community and it’s people.

    Couple of years ago we hosted a family reunion in Saranac Lake and actively discouraged attendees from booking into the Hotel Saranac, immortalized in Trip as “the hotel that inspired ‘The Shining’.

    How we’ve missed the all the great family, school and community events the ballroom used to host,
    not to mention the dining room where we often took friends and visitors and where our kids first met Santa and the Easter Bunny, and where one of them had her first real job a dozen years later.

    Not to mention the Boathouse pub, the only bar in town where I ever really felt comfortable (but that’s me).

    Let’s hope this project works out, and brings back the spirit of the old Hotel Saranac, while doing all the cool new things Clyde is talking about.

  4. Barb Hilde says:

    My husband and I got married in my home town of Saranac Lake 19 years ago. We will never forget the memories of our wedding reception at the Hotel Saranac and the joy it brought our friends and family while dancing the night away in the ballroom. We are glad to hear that something good will be done to keep the Hotel spirit alive.

  5. When out of town relatives came to visit, it became a tradition to take them to the Sunday morning brunch at the Hotel Saranac restaurant. Friday evenings became “Boathouse Night” frequently, where we would kick back and relax after a week of work.
    Hopefully this deal will solidify, and the prospect of the memories mentioned will return.

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