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Peaks at Lake Placid approved

This image shows a site plan for the Peaks at Lake Placid complex presented during a public hearing on the project in January. (Photo provided)

LAKE PLACID — A large-scale housing development in Lake Placid has gotten the go-ahead.

Local developer Joseph Barile’s Peaks at Lake Placid complex on Barn Road received approval from the Lake Placid-North Elba Joint Review Board on Wednesday, marking the end to a more than seven-month-long review process.

“The project is approved,” Review Board Chairman Rick Thompson, who recently replaced Bill Hurley, said Wednesday. “Thank you very much and good luck.”

Construction of the sprawling 355-unit housing complex at the former W. Alton Jones Cell Science Center is slated to begin in May and continue for two years. The Peaks will be used first as athlete housing for the 2023 World University Games, then as residential homes.

Barile has described his complex as “mid-level workforce housing.” The Peaks are expected to include 265 apartments for rent and 90 condominiums. Of the 265 apartments, 37 will be rented at a price considered affordable to someone making 120% of Essex County’s area median income, which would mean rents up to about $1,100 per month as of the latest figures, which could change by the time the complex is built. The other 228 apartments would likely be rented at a higher rate.

This image shows a site plan for the Peaks at Lake Placid complex presented during a public hearing on the project in January. (Photo provided)

The units at the Peaks will likely be rented at a higher price than those at two other Lake Placid housing complexes in the works, but the Peaks is expected to feature more amenities, such as a clubhouse, fitness center, swimming pool, day care center, recreational fields and underground parking garages for the residents to use.

The units will be deed-restricted to ensure they won’t be used as short-term vacation rentals. This deed restriction is expected to be enforced by a homeowner’s association at the complex.

The complex is expected to largely run off of green energy. Barile has repeatedly touted this project as one of the largest residential green energy projects in the country. He has said his goal is an 80% reduction of the carbon footprint. Plans for the project include many solar panels. Also, a large portion of the property, about 25 of 34.5 acres, would be left as green space.

Barile, a 1988 Olympic doubles luge athlete, has been involved with the construction of many properties in Lake Placid, including the Whiteface Lodge and the Outpost Shopping Plaza. Having gone through the review and planning process before, much of the engineering and planning work for the Peaks was done before the plans were submitted to the review board, according to Barile.

The Peaks has been in the works since December 2019, he said.

This image shows a site plan for the Peaks at Lake Placid complex presented during a public hearing on the project in January. (Photo provided)

It was about one year ago that the plans for this property first became public after the North Elba Town Council agreed for the town to temporarily hold the exclusive option to buy the property. That paved the way for a developer to take on this project and eventually build housing there, but it also let the town set conditions. One of those conditions was that the housing units would not be used as short-term vacation rentals. The town has since transferred it option to buy the property to Barile.

The former biotech campus property where the Peaks will be built is still currently owned by PEG Enterprises LLC, according to Essex County property records. As of 2007, PEG Enterprises LLC included Adirondack Trading Company owner Gregory Peacock as well as J. Patrick Barrett — who died in 2019 — and Edwin Weibrecht, who owns the Mirror Lake Inn and part of the Whiteface Club and Resort, co-owned with Barrett. Peacock’s signature was on the option agreement with the town last year.

Not long after the plans became public last year, the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism presented developed conceptual designs for the complex that look somewhat similar to Barile’s current site plan.

“A lot of work behind the scenes was done,” Barile said. “The (review) board did a great job in evaluating that information and moving the project forward.”

The state Adirondack Park Agency is expected to make a decision next month on whether to authorize a conditional use permit for the complex. Barile says he is hopeful.

This project was the largest development to come before the Joint Review Board in some time — perhaps ever. It’s one of three housing projects in the works right now. The other two are both slated to be built on Wesvalley Road. One of them, MacKenzie Outlook, is expected to be a 60-unit affordable housing development. The other is Fawn Valley, with 22 units. Most of the homes and condos at Fawn Valley are expected to exceed the town’s definition of “affordable” in its land use code, but for Lake Placid now — when multi-million-dollar lakefront homes are bought up each year — the developer’s target price of $155,000 for a condo and $185,000 for a single-family house is relatively low.

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