Back of former Dew Drop Inn to be razed

Board gets update on project

Calli Shelton outlines the latest plans for renovation of the former Dew Drop Inn at 27 Broadway in Saranac Lake during a village Development Board meeting Tuesday. (Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)

SARANAC LAKE — The back portion of the former Dew Drop Inn will be demolished and its third floor extended as part of the plan to turn the building into a new restaurant and bar with upper level apartments.

“The project has changed substantially since we last came to the board,” owner Calli Shelton said during a pre-application conference with the village Development Board Tuesday. “The changes are coming to the back portion of the building.”

Shelton said 90 percent of the interior demolition work is complete. Asbestos abatement is scheduled to start Monday and take two to three weeks to finish. She said the last part of the demolition will involve taking down the rear-most portion of the building.

“The reason for that is the former owner had stored so much stuff on the back portion of the main level of the building,” Shelton said. “When I went to buy it, we couldn’t even open the door. When he finally cleared that out, after the sale, we found there were significant roof leaks in that back corner, and nobody had fixed anything. What we’re going to do is tear that down with a big excavator.”

The other big change Shelton described involves extending the building’s third story so it goes as far back as the first and second stories. The change will allow for the addition of a smaller, one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment on the third floor, complementing a previously planned three-bedroom, two bathroom unit. It also increases the building’s area from 7,300 to 8,000 square feet.

The former Dew Drop Inn building is seen in May on Broadway in Saranac Lake. Village officials are considering a proposal to extend the River Walk through a covered deck on the side of the building. (Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)

Beyond that, nothing else has changed to the plan Shelton previously outlined to the board. The second floor will feature a restaurant, bar and finish kitchen that serves that level. The lower floor will house a larger space for events and meetings and a prep kitchen, Shelton said.

Architecturally, Shelton said the goal is to make the former Dew Drop look like something that fits downtown, although the building’s exterior materials haven’t been selected yet.

“It will be a unified material across the expanse of the building, and materials that give it that more vintage look,” she said. “The balconies on the river side will bring it back to a more historic look. Those existed in the past. They had balconies on all three levels of the building.”

The village River Walk, which moves away from the Saranac River before it reaches the back of Shelton’s property, would be extended through a covered boardwalk along the river side of the building.

Board members praised the plan and said they didn’t hear anything that caused concern.

“The big picture of what you’re undertaking is phenomenal,” said board Chairwoman Leslie Karasin. “I think the intent of what you’re trying to accomplish in terms of a unified architectural theme that fits in the village and brings back some of the historical characteristics and extends the River Walk — I think your intentions are all great.”

Going forward, Karasin said the board will likely have questions about building materials and colors, and will want to ensure they’re consistent with the development code. Lighting and signage will also need to be reviewed.

Board member Donna Difara asked what will happen to the old Dew Drop Inn sign on the building’s front facade.

“It’s not going to be outside probably,” Shelton said. “My intention is to restore it so there’s neon in it. In order to do that, we’ll probably be hanging it in an interior space, maybe in the vestibule where there’s a two-story space. But we’re keeping it.

“Somebody offered me $60,000 for it,” Shelton added. “I said, ‘Well, if money gets tight.’ But that’s a great piece of history and we want to keep those touches of history. Like the menu we’re working on has things from the original Dew Drop Inn. That’s really important us.”

Shelton said she expects to have a full application before the board in June so construction can begin soon after that.

In November, the village Board of Trustees approved a $200,000 economic development loan to Chicota Inc., a company formed by Shelton and her husband, Randy Coles, who are from Texas. They purchased the Dew Drop last year for $225,000 from prior owner Ed Dukett.