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65-apartment building in the works in Saranac Lake

The land behind Greg Mace’s Adirondack Tire shop is supposed to become housing. (Enterprise photo — Amy Scattergood)

SARANAC LAKE — More than an acre of land between Broadway and Depot Street is slated to become loft-style apartments for artists and those who earn less than the area’s median income.

Gregory Mace, who owns Adirondack Tire and the property behind the business, has agreed to sell his parcels to the Hudson Valley-based Kearney Group. The project is to include between 60,000 and 65,000 square feet of new construction that is expected to become approximately 65 mixed-income, loft-style apartments.

Up to 45 of those units would be designated for “artists.” Other units would be rented to those earning 60% or less of Franklin County’s Area Median Income, which is $65,200 per household. The remaining units will be designated to those who earn between 80% and 130% of the AMI.

The project will also be environmentally friendly: compliant with the Green Building Initiative of New York State, the Energy Efficient Initiative, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority compliant and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified.

“After 50 years of hard work serving customers in Saranac Lake, I am looking forward to retirement,” said Mace in a statement. “I am pleased that my property will eventually be used to help address the community’s housing needs. Until then, however, I will still be here and I am not closing up shop yet.” The shop is closed this week, however.

The land behind Greg Mace’s Adirondack Tire shop is supposed to become housing. (Enterprise photo — Amy Scattergood)

Kearney Group Vice President Sean Kearney said that his company was attracted to the village because of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, a nearly $10 million package of state grants Saranac Lake won in 2018.

“Completing a project here became a priority for us,” said Kearney in a statement.

The Kearney Realty & Development Group, located in Somers, Westchester County, specializes in affordable, mixed-income and downtown revitalization developments. To date, it has completed over $315 million worth of such projects in New York state, with over $150 million more projects currently in development.

Targeting artists as renters has been a part of many of those projects. Exactly who qualifies will be determined by a local advisory board, but will be loosely defined, according to Village Trustee Melinda Little.

The Saranac Lake project, which the Kearney Group hopes to begin construction in 2021, will offer both exterior and interior bicycle storage to encourage less vehicle dependency.

“The Village set a goal of supporting the creation of quality market rate and workforce housing, specifically the creation of artists live/work spaces,” said Jeremy Evans, the CEO of the Franklin County Local Development Corporation in the same press release.

“It all kind of converged,” Jamie Konkoski, Saranac Lake community development director, said of the project.

The Broadway/Depot area had been identified for decades as a priority redevelopment location, and “it became more of a strategy,” she said. Konkoski, Little and Major Clyde Rabideau went to Poughkeepsie last October to meet with Kearney. Then Evans contacted Mace.

“He’s doing this for the future,” Little said of Mace agreeing to sell his property and retire, though there’s no near date for Mace closing his tire business.

“It’s a big project,” said Little. “It’s going to take a while.”

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