Four-Year, $35.3 Million Project Restores Hotel Operations and Amenities to North Country Community
$13 Million Fund Will Support Strategic Opportunities Identified By the North Country Lodging Development Feasibility Study Conducted by Ernst & Young
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the grand reopening of the historic Hotel Saranac, commemorating the event with a ribbon cutting at its location in Franklin County. In 2013, the 82-room hotel closed for significant renovations and is now officially welcoming travelers from across the Northeast and beyond to Saranac Lake. The Governor also announced that Ernst & Young, a global professional services firm, will conduct a North Country Lodging Development Feasibility Study to inform lodging development opportunities that will be supported by the $13 million fund, as outlined in the Governor's FY 2019 Executive Budget.
"This massive restoration project has preserved the hotel's rich history, while paying homage to those who first settled the Village of Saranac Lake in the early 1800s," Governor Cuomo said. "This investment has revitalized a community treasure in the heart of the North Country, created new jobs for residents, and will help the region meet the lodging demands of travelers from near and far as they visit the region's world-class, year-round attractions."
Hotel Saranac first opened in 1927 as a modern, urban hotel in the middle of an iconic Adirondack village, equipped with the-state-of-the-art modern amenities, including private baths for every room. Billed as the first "fully fireproof" hotel in the North Country, the hotel was booked solid five months before the 1932 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, and again welcomed visitors during the 1980 games.
This massive restoration project has preserved the hotel's rich history, while paying homage to those who first settled the Village of Saranac Lake in the early 1800s.
In 2013, New Hampshire-based Roedel Companies purchased the hotel property and invested $35.3 million into the restoration project. In 2016, a replica of the original Hotel Saranac sign was installed on top of the hotel. Every room has been renovated to reflect the hotel's Roaring Twenties heritage with the addition of modern comforts. The hotel's Camp Fire Adirondack Grill & Bar features locally-sourced cuisine and craft beverages, and the gift shop offers Adirondack-inspired products from local artisans. Ampersand, the hotel spa and salon named for the mountain overlooking the lake, also recently officially opened to the public.
Hotel Saranac has already hired 39 full-time employees, with a commitment to hire at least six more. Empire State Development is supporting the restoration with a $5 million Regional Council grant. Hotel Saranac was identified as a priority project by the North Country Regional Economic Development Council during Round III of the Governor's Regional Economic Development Council initiative.
Feasibility Study to Identify North Country Lodging Opportunities
Furthering New York's commitment to Upstate tourism, Governor Cuomo announced a $13 million fund during his 2018 State of the State that will support strategic lodging opportunities identified by a North Country Lodging Development Feasibility Study. The feasibility study will better inform the state of opportunities available to meet the demands of travelers, and it will allow potential projects to be identified soon after the study is complete. Empire State Development issued a Request for Proposals from a list of pre-qualified organizations and Ernst & Young was selected to develop and implement the study.
The North Country Regional Economic Development Council has identified tourism and sustainable lodging development as a top priority to complement state and regional efforts to attract international tourism and sporting events. The council formed a lodging task force, and those members recommended a feasibility study to identify opportunities for sustainable lodging development to meet lodging demands in the Thousand Islands and Adirondacks regions.
This announcement comes after years of continued tourism growth across the North Country. In 2017, Governor Cuomo announced that Lake Placid was chosen to host the 2019 International Children's Games, and the 2021 Bobsled and Skeleton World Championships. Additionally, support for the region's 2023 World University Games bid was included in the Governor's 2018 State of the State. A total of $20 million in upgrades was included by Governor Cuomo in the FY 2018 Executive Budget for Gore and Whiteface Mountains. This funding supported the first phase of major upgrades at both facilities in 30 years, allowing the mountains to remain competitive in both the ski and tourism industries, and increase off-season revenue. Projects are ongoing to upgrade the facilities and create state-of-the art skiing, lodging, dining and retail options.
Governor Cuomo has supported New York's tourism industry since day one, committing historic funding to the North Country and hosting Adirondack Summer and Winter Challenges to highlight world-class attractions and destinations found throughout the region. In 2016, nearly 12 million people visited the Adirondack region - 250,000 more visitors than the previous year, generating nearly $1.35 billion in direct visitor spending. This represents a 3.4 percent spending increase over 2015, and a nearly 14 percent increase since 2011. In addition, regional tourism generated $169.4 million in state and local taxes last year. The tourism industry supports more than 21,000 jobs and $639 million in labor income annually in the Adirondack region.
The Governor's unprecedented investments in tourism have also generated record-breaking spending and visitation statewide, including 239 million visitors who spent nearly $65 billion in New York State in 2016. Tourism remains the state's fourth largest employer, supporting more than 914,000 jobs annually, and in 2016, the total economic impact of tourism exceeded $100 billion for the third straight year.
ESD President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Tourism statewide is a top priority, with historic investments generating unprecedented industry growth and job creation. The grand reopening of the Hotel Saranac will encourage even more visitors to plan a trip to experience the beauty of the Adirondacks and today's announcement underscores the State's ongoing commitment to increasing tourism in the North Country."
NCREDC Co-Chairs Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, and Tony Collins, President of Clarkson University, said, "Today's grand reopening of the Hotel Saranac by Governor Cuomo validates the emphasis placed on tourism by the NCREDC. A new age of tourism is upon us in the Olympic region."
Senator Betty Little said, "When I first ran for State Assembly more than 20 years ago to represent this incredible region, a visit to the Hotel Saranac was one of my first stops. As Senator, I couldn't be happier for this community now that this historic hotel has been reborn. Our tourism-driven region offers 'one of a kind' world-class recreational opportunities and the Hotel Saranac, in the heart of the Adirondacks, now offers world-class lodging. That's just what we need. It's been a long-time coming, but it's been worth the wait. I am pleased to join Governor Cuomo and Mayor Rabideau and all others who have championed this project and to congratulate the Roedels for their vision and hard work that has made this happen."
Assemblyman Billy Jones said, "Thanks to a large investment from the North Country Regional Economic Development Council and the Roedel family, the Hotel Saranac has been able to make incredible updates while preserving their historic structure. With Saranac Lake being the Capital of the Adirondacks, these renovations will help the hotel attract thousands of visitors and remain an economic booster to the region. I look forward to witnessing its positive effect on our economy for years to come."
Franklin County Legislature Chair Don Dabiew said, "The grand reopening of Hotel Saranac is welcome news for Franklin County residents and visitors alike. I thank Governor Cuomo for supporting the North Country, and applaud everyone at Roedel Companies who helped to restore the hotel to its former glory."
Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau said, "Governor Cuomo has always been very supportive of Saranac Lake and the Hotel Saranac project, visiting the hotel during the construction phase. I'm happy that he's able to see the beautiful finished product, which will breathe new life into our downtown and encourage growth throughout our village. This is a great day for our community, and I would encourage everyone to plan a trip to the Adirondacks and Saranac Lake."
Fred B. Roedel III and David W. Roedel, Roedel Companies, said, "Hotel Saranac, and the entire Saranac Lake community, are very special to Roedel Companies, and we are proud that we've been able to restore this historic hotel so generations of families can appreciate it as we have. We're thankful for the support this project has received from Governor Cuomo and Empire State Development over the past four years, and we welcome everyone to experience the world-class amenities and accommodations we have to offer at the newly-reopened historic Hotel Saranac."
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