Hospitality group buys Summit Hotel

The Summit Hotel is seen here on Wednesday. (Enterprise photo — Lauren Yates)

LAKE PLACID — The Summit Hotel on Saranac Avenue has closed and changed hands. The new owners hope to open the new, revamped Bluebird Lake Placid hotel by next year’s World University Games.

Lark Hotels purchased the hotel on Feb. 3 from its previous owner, Lake Placid Inka LLC, for around $7.7 million, according to Lark Hotels President and Founder Rob Blood.

Lark Hotels has been around for 10 years, and Blood said the group’s criteria for selecting new hotel locations centers around iconic destinations. Lark often seeks out areas that already have a high tourist draw.

“Without a doubt, Lake Placid is an iconic destination,” Blood said. “It’s known all over the world.”

He added that Lark has looked to expand its catalog of hotels to Lake Placid for five or six years before finding the Summit, which he calls a “natural fit” for the group’s Bluebird by Lark brand.

Lark Hotels has 42 hotels in the northeast between the company’s three brands — Lark Hotels, Lark Independent and Bluebird by Lark. Blood said the Bluebird brand is based around “the great American road trip,” taking old hotels and motor lodges and reinvigorating them. This will be Lark’s first hotel in the Adirondacks, though the group has a hotel nearby in Saratoga Springs.

Blood said the group has already jumped in on renovations. The first step was clearing out all the old furniture — everything was sold for $5 per piece — and the next steps will be demolition and restoration. Blood said the bones of the building are good.

“We get to focus on the fun stuff,” he said.

All the bathrooms and public spaces will be renovated, according to Blood, and he hopes to transform the old Mis Amigos restaurant into a leased retail space.

The hotel will have a “streamlined, Scandinavian, Nordic design,” he said. “Every surface will be touched.”

Code Enforcement Officer Mike Orticelle said that the Lark Hotels team is expected to meet with the Building and Planning Department to discuss its plans, but an appointment hasn’t been set. He said that if Lark decides to change the color or footprint of the building, the group will need to get those changes approved by the Lake Placid-North Elba Review Board. Blood said his team will probably propose some changes to the building’s exterior, but he’s not sure what those will look like yet.

Blood’s goal is to open Bluebird’s doors on Jan. 1, 2023, ahead of the World University Games. He called the Jan. 1 date an “aggressive timeline,” but he’s hoping to have the renovations done by November so that furniture installations and final touches would be done by December.

When asked about pandemic-related construction material supply issues, Blood said Lark has been lucky because it has worked on other projects over the last year and a half. General Contractor Sano Rubin, which completed Lark’s hotel in Saratoga Springs, is expected to get the job done at Lake Placid, and Blood said Lark is in “really good shape” as far as labor in Lake Placid is concerned. He said they’ve identified the “long lead materials” that might take longer to arrive at the job site and need to be prioritized.

Blood hopes to use any previous staff from the Summit that’s willing to return when Bluebird opens, but he recognizes that nearly a year is a long time to wait for work. He anticipates needing around 40 to 50 employees once the hotel opens — around 20 to work in the hotel and between 20 and 35 to staff the restaurant and bar — but he said the restaurant space isn’t fully conceptualized yet.

Blood recently traveled to Lake Placid with his design team to get video and drone footage of the hotel, and he said they talked to some people around town about Bluebird while dining out.

“The consensus was that it was good that something was going to be happening with the building,” he said.

Blood said Lark has a high level of enthusiasm for expanding into Lake Placid.

“We’re excited to become a part of the community,” he said.


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