|By Kim Smith Dedam, The Press-Republican,
Plattsburgh, N.Y.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jan. 24, 2012--RAY BROOK -- The Adirondack Park Agency has granted a permit for a new 97-room hotel on Mirror Lake.
Commissioners approved the Lussi family plan to build what is temporarily dubbed the Lake Placid Club Forest West Loj on a site where the former Lake Placid Club dormitory used to be.
Katrina Lussi Kroes said in an interview Monday that they hope to begin digging on the site within five months.
"We hope to break ground when the ground is not frozen -- in late April or early May. Construction is targeted to take about 12 months."
Lake Placid village officials rezoned the site section of the Lussis' Lake Placid Club Master Plan revitalization effort as Village Center property, and the hotel gained final zoning approvals from Lake Placid-North Elba's Joint Review Board in November.
PARK AND WALK
A public hearing drew little contention other than concerns about additional traffic in the village.
But Kroes said Monday that one aspect of their design allows guests to park and walk to Lake Placid restaurants, Olympic venues and Main Street shops.
It also adds nearly 100 rooms to the lodging mix, stepping up to support business coming in to the new Conference Center at Lake Placid.
"The location on Mirror Lake Drive is ideal for a drive-to and leave your car for the day," Kroes said.
"We're really close to the Olympic Center, Main Street and the local restaurants. We're planning on only serving breakfast at the hotel, so guests can walk to area restaurants."
The new hotel's lot encompasses an area long used for public parking, but continued public access to parking is being reviewed by the Village Board.
The hotel's circular entrance is located off Searle Street, a side road, to help minimize traffic congestion on Mirror Lake Drive, according to the permit application.
The new hotel will hire 25 full-time employees once it's open, Kroes said.
"We are very excited to keep moving forward on the project."
The Lake Placid-North Elba Joint Review Board retained jurisdiction of landscaping approval on the site, along with final lighting and signage designs.
APA staff planner Colleen Parker told commissioners Friday that local zoning would oversee aesthetic aspects of construction.
But the project required an APA permit because, at 57.5 feet high, the building triggered APA jurisdiction for construction over 40 feet.
"Proposed," Parker said in the project description, "is construction of a 60,000-square-foot, five-story, 97-unit hotel."
She showed commissioners photographic simulations from several angles of what the hotel would look like along Mirror Lake Drive.
APA received three comment letters from owners of Morningside Townhome Association, Parker said, expressing concern over the height of the new hotel, parking, garbage-disposal facilities, impacts to the beach and village park area and access to the Jack Rabbit Trail.
Parker showed commissioners where the Jack Rabbit Cross-Country Ski Trail enters the current parking lot and leads to several skiing paths through Lake Placid: one up around Crowne Plaza and another, when possible, across the ice on Mirror Lake.
Commissioners did not question access to skiing routes through Lake Placid, which is zoned Hamlet.
Economic-impact figures for the hotel were drawn from a 2009 report done by Plattsburgh State's Technical Assistance Center, which showed the average visitor to Lake Placid-Essex County spends $136.58 per day.
"It can thus be expected that the (Lussi hotel) could stimulate over $6,450,000 of spending in the local economy every year," the APA draft permit said.
The permit also anticipates 65 full-time jobs during the 44-week construction period.
Kroes said the final name for the hotel has not been chosen.
"Lake Placid Gold is researching options for the hotel brand," she said Monday.
The old cement and steel dormitory was torn down, and the site on Mirror Lake Drive beside Lake Placid Pub and Brewery was cleared by late November.
Chris Ericson, founder and owner of the Pub and Brewery, is confident the development next door will prove beneficial to the town.
"I think that the building that was torn down was an eyesore, and I am happy that it is being replaced by a new hotel. As I have said in the past, the Lussi family takes their development projects very seriously, and they do them very well.
"I am excited to have it right next door to me and excited to bring more folks to our end of the lake."
Commissioners were unanimous in voting for permit approval.
Arthur Lussi, who is one of the hotel's developers and an APA commissioner, did not sit in while the board reviewed the project and recused himself from the vote.
Email Kim Smith Dedam at: firstname.lastname@example.org
(c)2012 the Press-Republican (Plattsburgh, N.Y.)
Visit the Press-Republican (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) at pressrepublican.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services