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Renovation of the Hotel Saranac is one of two hotel projects in Saranac Lake to be put forward by the Regional Economic Development Council for funding. Photo: Susan Waters
Renovation of the Hotel Saranac is one of two hotel projects in Saranac Lake to be put forward by the Regional Economic Development Council for funding. Photo: Susan Waters

REDC backs funding for two Saranac Lake hotel projects

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A pair of major hotel projects in Saranac Lake got a big boost this week. The North Country Regional Economic Development Council has included a proposed 90-room hotel on Lake Flower and a developer's plan to buy and renovate the Hotel Saranac on its list of 16 priority projects for state economic development funding. Several other projects in the Tri-Lakes also made the list.

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Reported by

Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

Garry Douglas, co-chairman of the economic development council, said the Saranac Lake area did so well because it had "excellent projects" that matched the council’s priorities.

"From the very beginning we have identified, as one of our key strategies, the development of tourism infrastructure, particularly in the Adirondacks, to take the potential for tourism to another level," Douglas said. "Each of these hotels does it. The question would have been, could one have outweighed the other? Clearly the committee felt they were both excellent projects and that the market was there for both of them simultaneously."

New Hampshire-based Roedel Companies is seeking $5 million from the state toward its overall $12.7 million plan to buy the Hotel Saranac and renovate its 75 guest rooms, banquet and meeting facilities, and Main Street retail space.

Lake Flower Lodging, a company led by Malone developer Chris LaBarge, has asked the state to kick in $2.2 million toward a $14.8 million project. The project involves the demolition of three motels, which would be replaced with an upscale, four-to-five story hotel with 90 rooms; banquet, spa and restaurant facilities.

Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau, in a press release, said he was excited to hear his village did so well.

"We're in the running, and we're running hard," Rabideau said.

Several other Tri-Lakes area projects are on the council’s priority list, including phase two of the Wild Walk at Tupper Lake's Wild Center natural history museum and a major building expansion at Bionique Testing Laboratories in Lake Clear. Funding for the Whiteface Mountain Veterans Highway and Saranac Lake's Trudeau Institute were dubbed "regionally significant" by the council.

Douglas said the selection of a project to the priority list "is not a guarantee" of funding.

The North Country's list will now vie against other regions' projects in a statewide competition.

"Sometime, probably by early December, the state will announce five winning regions," he said. "Those five winning regions typically will get most if not all of their priority projects funded."

The North Country has been in the top five each of the first two years of the competition.

"The question is, can we win three years in a row?" Douglas asked. "We sure want to think so."

Up to $760 million in state money is available this year.

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