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The sign above the Hotel Saranac has long welcomed visitors, but for years the destination has been in decline. Photo: Susan Waters
The sign above the Hotel Saranac has long welcomed visitors, but for years the destination has been in decline. Photo: Susan Waters

Investor plans to revive historic Hotel Saranac

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A developer with ties to Saranac Lake has announced plans to purchase and renovate the historic Hotel Saranac in the heart of the village.

Fred Roedel, who lives in Wilton, New Hampshire, issued a statement yesterday saying that the refurbished hotel "will drive vitality and economic stability to the area."

The project is expected to cost roughly $13 million and will require a significant investment from taxpayers.

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Reported by

Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

The restoration of the property and Ballroom will allow the hotel to serve as the venue for special events and milestones.
The Hotel Saranac has a storied history in Saranac Lake. For decades, its stately ballroom and restaurants were a focal point for weddings, Winter Carnival celebrations, reunions.

"The Hotel Saranac is the icon of Saranac Lake. And when it was thriving not so long ago, it was a benefactor to every downtown business in the region. And it was a place of gathering."

But seven years ago, Paul Smiths College announced that it would no longer use the hotel as a training site for its students.

The hotel was sold and slowly fell into decline. The restaurants and gift shop closed. The ballroom was used less and less.

Rabideau says the Roedel Companies will spend millions of dollars bringing the hotel back to life.

"I'm told up to $8 million cash [will go] into the project, but it's not enough to make it fly," Rabideau said.

According to Rabideau, the firm will apply to New York state for up to $5 million in "gap" funding and may also ask the village to construct a parking garage near the hotel.

In a statement released yesterday, Fred Roedel said the renovated hotel "will ddrive vitality and economic development to the area."

The Hotel Saranac's gift shop and restaurants once anchored the village's downtown. Photo: Susan Waters
The Hotel Saranac's gift shop and restaurants once anchored the village's downtown. Photo: Susan Waters
"The restoration of the property and ballroom will allow the hotel to serve as the venue for special events and milestones," he added.

Roedel said his family had ties to the village dating back to the 1800s.

This news comes just two weeks after another developer, Chris LaBarge from Malone, announced plans to build a 90-room hotel and resort on the shore of Lake Flower, a short distance from the Hotel Saranac.

Rabideau says the two projects will complement each other.

Saranac Lake Mayor Cyde Rabideau (center) has unveiled two hotel deals in recent days. Photo: Brian Mann
Saranac Lake Mayor Cyde Rabideau (center) has unveiled two hotel deals in recent days. Photo: Brian Mann
"Those two hotels give us the critical mass of rooms that we need to bring in some of the conferences and some of the smaller conventions."

These new investments come after years of struggle for the lodging industry near Saranac Lake, with the loss of landmark destinations like the Wawbeek Hotel and the Hotel Saranac – and financial troubles for The Point resort, which is currently in foreclosure.

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