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Malone developer Chris LaBarge unveils his new hotel plan for Saranac Lake at a press conference on Wednesday. Photo: Brian Mann
Malone developer Chris LaBarge unveils his new hotel plan for Saranac Lake at a press conference on Wednesday. Photo: Brian Mann

Big new luxury hotel planned for Saranac Lake waterfront

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A developer from Malone says he plans to build a new luxury resort-hotel in the village of Saranac Lake. The five-story, 90-room hotel would sit on the shore of Lake Flower, at a location now occupied by three waterside motels.

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Reported by

Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

Chris LaBarge developed the Holiday Inn Express project in Malone and is currently building another hotel in Oswego.

He says the project in Saranac Lake will be more high-end, a full-service destination hotel on the waterfront that will include docks, a spa, restaurants and a bar.

Here's how LaBarge described the new hotel in a press conference Wednesday: "An icon that will define Saranac Lake."

LaBarge, Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau and Jeremy Evans, head of the village's Community Development Office at Wednesday's press conference. Photo: Brian Mann
LaBarge, Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau and Jeremy Evans, head of the village's Community Development Office at Wednesday's press conference. Photo: Brian Mann
"I like that, Chris," said Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau, who added that the project will need a series of variances from the village, because of its height and its location on the waterfront.

But Rabideau described the project as a huge win for the economy and the village tax base.

"We're going to work with this developer. This is a huge investment. We haven't seen an investment of this magnitude in Saranac Lake in generations."

According to LaBarge, the project will also need approval from the Adirondack Park Agency because it will exceed the Park's 40-foot height restriction.

If the hotel is built, he says, it will mean a significant number of new jobs in the village.

"Because of the nature of the full-service, you could be upwards of 70 employees, because of the two restaurants that you're going to be talking about, the banquet facility, so probably 60-70 empoyees."

Three existing motels would be demolished to make way for the resort, which will occupy a three-acre site.

LaBarge says the architecture of the new hotel will be shaped to echo the traditional hotels that could be found in Saranac Lake in the 19th century.

Jim McKenna heads the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, based in Lake Placid. He says this kind of investment in new hotels is needed in the Adirondacks.

"It's new product, it's located on the waterways, and it's really in the world of travel today, those types of facilities are what people are clearly looking for."

This announcement comes just days after Lake George village changed its zoning rules to allow for hotels of up to six stories, as part of an effort to attract more investment.

It also comes as residents in Tupper Lake wait for the courts to decide the outcome of a lawsuit filed by environmental groups that has halted development of a resort project planned for land around the Big Tupper ski area.

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