Hotel Saranac wins historic preservation award

The renovated Hotel Saranac is located in the heart of downtown Saranac Lake. (Photo provided)

ALBANY — The Preservation League of New York State has selected the historic Hotel Saranac to receive an award for Excellence in Historic Preservation, honoring the hotel for retaining, promoting and reusing a part of New York State’s architectural heritage.

“Built in 1927 as a modern hotel for a growing, motoring middle class, the Hotel Saranac towers over the village’s commercial district. In recent years, however, the hotel fell into disrepair and threatened to negate years of efforts to preserve the unique architecture and history of this walkable North Country downtown,” said Jay DiLorenzo, president of the Preservation League. “The Roedel family, with deep roots in the community, took on this project with an unwavering commitment to historic preservation, beginning with the nomination of the hotel to the National Register.”

The project team included Roedel Companies, which owns and operates the hotel, ROK Builders, RSJ Associates all of Wilton, NH; Freeman, French, Freeman of Burlington, Vermont; Landmark Consulting LLC of Albany; Group One Partners of Boston, Massachusetts; North Woods Engineering of Saranac Lake; Chris Wheeler of Massachusetts; Kirick Engineering of Williston, Vermont; and Korn Design of Boston, Massachusetts.

The project was not without incident. Two weeks into new ownership, a pipe burst and flooded the boiler room, electric panels and elevator shafts. But the project team pressed on, and layers of 20th-century alterations were stripped away, including acoustical ceiling grids, Masonite wall paneling and partition walls. Original terrazzo flooring was restored, as was cherry wood paneling in the Ballroom and the plaster barrel vaulted ceiling in the arcade.

Significant project support was provided by an Empire State Development Grant through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council. The project has been determined eligible for New York State and Federal Historic Tax Credits. Hotel Saranac secured Historic Hotels of America designation from the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2017.

The Great Hall of the renovated Hotel Saranac (Photo provided)

“We are appreciative and honored to receive this award from the Preservation League,” said Roedel Companies CFO Fred Roedel. “Our project objectives were simple: properly and accurately preserve the historically significant elements of the Hotel, while also ensuring the final hotel product was relevant and economically viable.”

The awards will be presented at the Preservation League’s Awards Ceremony at 6 p.m. May 9 at the historic New York Yacht Club, 37 West 44th St., New York City.

Other award winners include the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory, Poughkeepsie; Richardson Olmsted Campus, Buffalo;Sibley Square, Rochester; R.E. Dietz Lantern Factory, Syracuse; John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor; Tapestry on the Hudson, Troy. The New York Botanical Garden will be honored for Organizational Excellence.