SCHROON LAKE - Construction of a new hotel in Schroon Lake could begin this year.
Talks are under way to bring a national chain to Route 9, south of the hamlet.
"This has been in the works since 2006," said Roger Friedman, one of the investors. "It's no secret we've been discussing a hotel. It's needed badly in our community."
Joining Friedman in the investment group, Schroon Revitalization Group, LLC- Schroon Lake Hospitality, are his brother, Joel, and David and Jane Kaufman. The Kaufmans live in Burlington, Vt., but are summer residents of Schroon.
Plans call for approximately 81 rooms and suites, meeting rooms, an indoor pool and fitness center. It's uncertain if there will be a restaurant or other amenities.
Joel Friedman stressed plans won't be finalized for the $8 million project until a franchise agreement is reached with a national chain.
"We are continuing to study the flags (chains) out there," he said. "We're looking for a mid-scale property appealing to both the highway traveler and the leisure-destination traveler.
"We're still trying to figure out the bits and pieces that are the best fit for the community," he added. "We don't have a final plan yet."
Roger Friedman noted several studies in the past 30 years have indicated the need for hotel rooms in Schroon. He pointed to a 1977 study that led to a failed attempt to bring a hotel-conference center to the former Camp Idlewood property. Another study, completed last year, also suggested the need for more lodging.
"Schroon Lake has no place to house people," Roger Friedman said. "The last count showed there were 493 rooms in the town; 200 that are owned by Word of Life that are only quasi-public. Of the 493 rooms on that list, 92 are no longer operating. In the last five years we've lost 90 rooms."
Joel Friedman added many travelers prefer chain hotels because they know what to expect.
"We don't have what the traveling public wants," he said. "The majority are looking for chains because they know chains have minimum standards, they know what to expect from a name hotel."
The Friedmans believe a new hotel will be an economic boost to the entire community.
"We need tourism dollars in Schroon Lake," Roger Friedman said. "The entire community benefits when people visit. They eat out, go to movies, shop, use the marinas. I can't stress the importance of tourism enough."
Joel Friedman pointed out the project will also create jobs for local residents.
Once a franchise agreement is reached, the Friedmans expect the project to move along quickly.
"In the Adirondacks there is no such thing as a slam dunk," Roger Friedman said. "If it was a slam dunk it would have been done before, but I'm confident we'll have success with this project."
Joel Friedman said most hotel chains have basic designs for their properties. Once a franchise agreement is in place architectural plans will be submitted to the town for a building permit.
Since the project is in the hamlet the Adirondack Park Agency is not involved.
"We'd like to start work in the spring or summer," Joel Friedman said. "We're not certain at this point."
Assisting the project is a $975,000 low-interest loan from the state's Upstate Regional Blueprint Fund. It's one of 15 projects funded that are designed to spark economic growth in regions with stymied development.
It was the only North Country project funded.
"My first priority as governor is putting New Yorkers back to work. These funds provide communities with the resources they need to attract development and create jobs," said Gov. David Paterson. "These 15 Upstate Regional Blueprint projects are a sound investment in our Upstate communities and will help keep our entrepreneurs, workers and families in New York."
Paterson called the hotel project a cornerstone in the revitalization of the town of Schroon.