Dew Drop construction to start this month

The first floor of the former Dew Drop Inn will host a restaurant and bar expected to open in approximately 16 months, according its co-owner, seen on Jan. 9. (Enterprise photo — Jesse Adcock)

SARANAC LAKE — Work on the former Dew Drop Inn will start later this month, with an expected partial opening of a new business in 16 months, according to one of its owners.

“We haven’t worked in there since October of 2017,” said co-owner Calli Shelton. The three-story business is planned to operate as a combination restaurant and bar, cooking school, event space and short term rental when complete.

Shelton said rather than have the entire business open at once, she plans to open it in stages.

“We’re going to do is finish out the restaurant and bar first,” Shelton said. “Then do the lower level, which is the catering space, and the event space and the cooking school space, and end up with the apartments on top.”

The apartments will be short-term rentals, meant to be branded as a live-in culinary experience.

“So come stay with us, have the chef come up and cook you a meal, take a tour our local suppliers,” Shelton said. “Its all part of the business plan. Rather than just separate things in a building.”

The next step, Shelton said, is to find finalize an agreement with her new general contractor.

“Once we get that nailed down, we’re ready to rock,” Shelton said.

In addition to work on the business itself, future construction will extend the Riverwalk alongside the former Dew Drop Inn. A patio over the Saranac River will be built. When complete, pedestrians will be able to walk up from the Riverwalk to Broadway, past where patrons of the future business might be seated.

Over the past couple of weeks Shelton has been finalizing the contract details for a state Main Street Grant through the Saranac Lake Local Development Corporation. She said she and the board disagreed with some of the contract details — namely that if she chose to sell the business within five years, Shelton would have to pay back the grant funding she received. She said she has no intention of selling, but couldn’t agree to those terms.

Shelton said this point of contention has been resolved by working directly with two members of the village LDC, and the requirement has been removed.

Shelton said she has secured two loans for the current stage of the project, one through the Development Authority of the North Country and another through the Franklin County Local Development Corporation. She said they’re in the application process for a Small Business Administration loan through Champlain National Bank.

She and her partner on the project, Randy Coles, were divorced over the last year but remain partners on the project.

Shelton and Coles purchased the building in 2015 and began gutting it into 2017. The floorboards, studs and rafters stand bare inside.