Resort manager applies for demolition grant
SARANAC LAKE — A hotel developer hoping to put a 93-room resort on the shore of Lake Flower is applying for state funding to demolish the three motels already on the site.
In a meeting of the village of Saranac Lake trustees Tuesday night, project manager Jacob Wright asked them to lend its approval to a Letter of Intent for Saranac Lake Resort LLC to apply for a $1 million grant from the Empire State Development agency’s Restore New York fund. The letter had to be submitted to the state by Oct. 13.
The Restore New York Communities Initiative provides funding “for projects involving the demolition, deconstruction, rehabilitation and/or reconstruction of vacant, abandoned, condemned and surplus properties,” according to its eligibility criteria, with “a strong emphasis on economically distressed communities.”
Although none of the motels on the site are vacant — they’re all still operational — the trustees passed a resolution to support his letter of intent to apply for the grant. Written into the resolution are stipulations that the resort project must meet all the eligibility requirements, including having permits for the properties at 234, 238, 248 and 256 Lake Flower Ave.
“We have no reason to say no,” village Community Development Director Jamie Konkoski said in a separate interview after the meeting. “We don’t have anything at stake. We’re not contributing any of the matching funds.”
Should the grant go through, the recipient must put up matching funds of 10 percent of the project cost. The grant would come to the village, which would pass it through to the developer. Once the project is complete, the state grant reimburses project costs.
“The goal is downtown and urban revitalization,” Konkoski said. She said a key to Wright actually applying for the grant would be whether the three motels become vacant in the next two months.
“He’d have to move the project forward,” she said. In the meantime, she said, if he doesn’t submit the letter, there’s no chance of being able to apply for the grant in December.
Trustee Rich Shapiro asked whether the application required the company to have clear title to the properties. The Adirondack Hotel and the Lake Flower Inn are under contract to sell to Saranac Lake Resort LLC, but the owner of the Lake Side Inn has indicated he is no longer interested in selling.
Trustee Paul Van Cott said, “They have to have proof any pending litigation has been resolved.”
Konkoski said the grant stipulations are stringent.
“I’m confident all of your concerns are addressed by something on the checklist [for the grant],” Konkoski said.
“Is this something we could use for zombie properties?” asked Trustee Elias Pelletieri. Zombie properties are derelict buildings that have not been fixed or demolished.
“One of the requirements is that we assemble a list of them for the zombie grant,” said Konkoski.
Mayor Clyde Rabideau said the village hopes to get a grant in round six of the Restore New York funding cycle. This grant cycle is round five.