Lussis’ Boat House Restaurant approved to be luxury rentals

The former Lake Placid Club Boat House, pictured here, will be converted into three luxury rental units. (Enterprise photo — Elizabeth Izzo)

LAKE PLACID — The state Adirondack Park Agency has approved a plan to subdivide the former Lake Placid Club Boat House Restaurant on Mirror Lake Drive into three luxury rental units.

The 200-seat restaurant closed its doors earlier this year after the owners — the Lussi family, operating as Placid Gold LLC — decided to convert the property into housing. Design plans for the proposed development show that the building is set to be subdivided into three rental units with a total of 11 bedrooms.

Renovations are expected to start in the fall and finish by next spring, according to Katrina Lussi-Kroes, a member of Placid Gold LLC.

Asked if the apartments will be short-term vacation rentals, Lussi-Kroes said the apartments will be rented out “to whoever wants them.” She noted that the family’s company currently has a mix of long- and short-term rental units in the area.

Asked if the new units would be luxury or market-rate apartments, she said she would consider them to be luxury apartments. Rates will be publicized after the property is renovated.

“We’re excited to move forward with the project and to having some more really nice accommodations on Mirror Lake,” said Lussi-Kroes.

Because APA board member Arthur Lussi, Katrina’s brother, is involved with Placid Gold LLC, the project had to go before the APA board for approval. Lussi recused himself from voting on or discussing the project at the board’s meeting Thursday.

The APA board voted unanimously to authorize the project.

It had been approved by the Lake Placid-North Elba Joint Review Board on June 5, Because the property may be rented out short-term, the project awaits approval from the state Department of Health before moving forward.

The original boathouse was built in 1967 on the southeastern shore of Mirror Lake, on what was then the grounds of the Lake Placid Club, an exclusive and internationally renowned resort founded by Melville Dewey. Some of the club property, including the boathouse, was purchased by the Lussi family in 1996 for between $4.6 million and $4.75 million. The boathouse-turned-restaurant underwent major renovations in 2002 under the Lussi family.

Across the street from the building is an existing 40-car parking lot that will be used to accommodate the building’s tenants. A private beach next to the building will remain private, with access for tenants and guests of the Crowne Plaza Resort, which is owned by the Lake Placid Vacation Corporation, whose president is Arthur Lussi.

The building is set to be expanded by 54 square feet so the stairwell can be reconfigured.

The APA received one letter of complaint about the project plans. According to Sarah Staab, an APA staffer who presented Placid Gold’s plans to the board Thursday, the unnamed letter writer expressed concern that the conversion could potentially hurt Mirror Lake’s water quality, affect its historic value or be a nuisance to neighbors.

Staab said any impact on Mirror Lake as a result of salt would be “negligible,” and the proposed use of the property was in line with the surrounding “hamlet” land use. Hamlet is the APA’s most lenient level of land-use classification, meant to cluster development in established communities.

“Other structures in the area are also being used for this purpose,” she said, referencing other housing in the area.

As for the building’s historic significance, Staab said the project was submitted to the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which determined the plans would have no impact on its historic value.