SARANAC LAKE - It's not a done deal yet, but the village could have a local icon restored if plans for a New Hampshire-based company to buy and renovate the Hotel Saranac come through.
Roedel Companies, a chain of hotel owner/operators, announced plans to "restore the property to its historic grandeur by renovating the Ballroom, lobby, 86 guestrooms and first-floor retail space" in a press release Monday afternoon.
Fred Roedel III, a fourth-generation summer resident of Saranac Lake and a principal in the Roedel Companies, announced the company's plans to the mayor and other local and state officials last week as the company is putting together a grant funding application for part of the projected investment.
The Hotel Saranac, seen this morning, is considered a centerpiece of the village, and officials hope a plan for a New Hampshire-based company to buy and renovate it will restore it to the icon it once was.
(Enterprise photo — Jessica Collier)
"The Hotel Saranac is an important asset to the community," Roedel said in press release. "Upon completion of the renovations, the hotel will drive vitality and economic stability in the area. The restoration of the property and Ballroom will allow the hotel to serve as the venue for special events and milestones."
Up until the mid 2000s, the hotel was a popular choice for weddings and other special events. But in recent years, that tapered off under the ownership of Sewa Arora.
Attempts by various individuals over the years to purchase the hotel have fallen through after potential buyers have failed to come to terms with Arora. Mayor Clyde Rabideau, who along with village staff sent several of the potential buyers to Arora, has blamed Arora for the negotiations falling through.
The Enterprise could not reach Roedel or the public relations company affiliated with Roedel Companies as of press time, but local attorney John Muldowney said Roedel is both a friend and a client.
"It's a pretty exciting proposition if everything goes through as planned," Muldowney said. "It's an exciting venture that is going to restore the Hotel Saranac to a central focal point of the community."
Muldowney said Roedel's mother graduated from Saranac Lake High School, and his paternal grandfather was involved in the original Paul Smith's Electric Company. Roedel and his wife even had their wedding reception at the Hotel Saranac, Muldowney said.
"This is not some corporate venture that has no emotional component to Saranac Lake and the Hotel Saranac," Muldowney said. "This is a deal that means a lot to both Fred and his family. It's more than just a financial deal to them."
Rabideau said at Monday night's special village board meeting that the Roedels are normal, unassuming folks who blend in and have fun in the Saranac Lake area. He noted that their company is "the real deal."
"They know what they're doing, they're good at it, they've got a really great track record, and their heart is really in Saranac Lake," Rabideau said. "They feel just as at home here as anybody else. This is part of their legacy they want to leave to Saranac Lake, and I'm very, very pleased for them to be part of our Saranac Lake family."
Rabideau said he's excited about the news.
"I think it's a tremendous opportunity for Saranac Lake and the region," Rabideau said. "The Hotel Saranac is the icon. It dominates the presence of downtown, and I would love to see it restored as the anchor of downtown."
Rabideau said the community has been anxious about the hotel for at least five years.
"It's time to move on, and it looks like we're moving on in a very positive way," Rabideau said.
Katy VanAnden, executive director of the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, said the hotel's renovation could help bring more people to Saranac Lake.
"I think that it's huge for business in Saranac Lake," VanAnden told the Enterprise. "And we clearly support bringing in people to our area and supporting our local economy."
This is the second major announcement about a hotel in the village in the last two weeks. In late July, Malone-based developer Chris LaBarge announced plans to build a five-story, 90 room hotel on Lake Flower.
Roedel Companies owns and operates nationally branded hotels throughout the eastern United States, according to a press release from the company. Roedel Companies' growing portfolio includes Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Holiday Inn Express & Suites and La Quinta Inn & Suites properties. The organization recently acquired a full service Holiday Inn in Mount Kisco, which will undergo a multi-million dollar renovation this fall.
ROK Builders, the hotel construction affiliate of Roedel Companies LLC, has 45 years of experience developing, constructing, managing and designing hotels for its own account and third parties. The organization's new hotels and hotel renovation projects are designed to maximize revenue, control costs and ultimately deliver optimal free cash flow to owners and investors. According to a press release from the company, ROK Builders' expertise in the hotel construction business has earned a reputation for delivering well-designed and cost-efficient projects on time and on budget.