The proposed six-story Marriott Courtyard Hotel, a $16 million development project for downtown Lake George spearheaded by local developer Dave Kenny, would feature full extensive conference space with a large ballroom, four retail stores, an upscale steakhouse, and 120 guest rooms. Plans were unveiled Thursday Aug. 15 as they were presented to the village authorities.
A six-story hotel development planned for downtown is likely to prompt 100 new jobs, cost $16 million, and boost the area’s economy year-round, according to pronouncements made Thursday Aug. 15 as the hotel’s plans were unveiled.
Developer Dave Kenny said his hotel, a Marriott Courtyard, would be focusing on hosting conferences and conventions, accommodating 500 to 600 people.
Mayor Bob Blais said he felt the development would spur the commercial and cultural vitality of the village.
“This hotel will provide a tremendous economic boost for Lake George and the entire region,” he said.
Blais predicted the hotel’s conferences would draw business people to Lake George that haven’t been here before, and after experiencing the village’s amenities, they were likely to return, bringing their families, thus increasing tourism. He said these business and professional people would be spending far more than the average tourists.
The ground floor is planned to host four separate retail stores with entrances onto the Canada St. sidewalk. Kenny said he’d be soliciting national chain boutiques and specialty stores for the commercial spaces. Kenny added these spaces could also host a wine bar, an antique shop, or a store offering Adirondack crafts and furnishings.
This first level will also host a lobby and guest services desk, as well as a breakfast bistro and separate upscale restaurant measuring 5,500 square feet. Kenny added that he would be seeking to attract a top-shelf steakhouse, like Angelo’s 77 Prime in Albany. He said he would soon be talking to its owner, Angelo Mazzone, to see if he wanted to operate the restaurant. The hotel would also have exercise facilities and a pool.
The conference space, centered on the second floor, would be anchored by a 7,500 square-feet main ballroom, plus six 1,500 square-feet breakout rooms, as well as a 3,000 square-feet reception area on a balcony, overlooking Lake George. The conference facilities would also include an indoor amphitheater, which could be used not only for business and professional presentations, but for movies for children on off-hours.
Kenny said that the hotel would cost between $15 million and $16 million, plus the cost of the fixtures, furnishings and equipment.
Kenny formally submitted the plans to the village Thursday, to be reviewed soon by the planning board. A sketch-plan review by the panel is likely to occur in September, followed by a full site plan review in October. Concurrently, plans will be under examination by the Adirondack Park Agency, which must approve the project for it to go forward. Kenny’s attorney Jonathan Lapper, said such approval might be granted in three to four months.
Kenny said that the Marriott Courtyard would likely be constructed in 2015.
Blais said Marriott was one of the top business chains in the nation, and that the Lake George Marriott would feature the second-largest conference facilities in the region. Kenny noted that the two other conference centers in the region, the Saratoga City Center and The Sagamore in Bolton, were fully booked. He also noted that his Marriott would be the only such facility within a short drive to two separate Northway exits.
Both Blais and Kenny noted that the hotel would be drawing people year-round, not just in the prime two summer months when Lake George accommodations are operating at capacity.
“We want the lights on all down Main Street, October through April — and a conference center like this will obviously do that,” Blais said.
A village resident at the press conference questioned whether the hotel would overburden the village with traffic. Blais immediately voiced a blunt response.
“We love traffic problems in Lake George,” he said.
The resident also asked about whether the hotel should be so close to the local high school.
Kenny responded later that the school is now experiencing a severely declining enrollment which threatens its future, but the dozens of new jobs created could turn the tide, securing the school’s future and its finances.
“I’d like to see the back streets of Lake George full of families again, like it was decades ago, with children walking to school,” Kenny said, adding that he had expectations his hotel development would revitalize the community and keep the young adults from moving away in search of better career opportunities. “I want my grand-kids and great-grandchildren to live in Lake George — and I think this will be great for the community.”
Kenny said that Marriott would be providing extensive international promotion for their Lake George hotel, which would in itself boost area tourism remarkably.
When asked if the hotel would crimp business for area motels, Blais said that the overflow from conferences would fill other local accommodations. He observed that Americade started at Roaring Brook Conference Center in the early 1980s, but now fills dozens of motels in the region to capacity for a week. A study has indicated Americade generates more than $40 million each year for the local economy.
“A rising tide helps all businesses,” Kenny responded.
Bill Manion, owner of Molly Malone’s Irish Gifts, said he at first opposed multi-story hotels in the village because of the change to the local skyline, but now supports the Marriott project. His store — one of the relatively few businesses in the village now open year-round — would be within several hundred feet of the hotel’s front door.
“I stepped back and thought about it, and changed my opinions,” he said. “My store will definitely be helped, but this hotel will also be great for all of Lake George.”
Representatives of a half-dozen unions were present at the press conference, seeking assurances that local laborers, union members, would be hired to build the hotel.
Zack Middleton of the International Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 291 commented on their objectives.
“This could mean a lot of good jobs for local people — we want to make sure they don’t ship in workers from out-of-state to accomplish what local people could do.”
After the presentation, several people questioned whether the exterior design as presented could meet the new architectural standards adopted by the village this year. Among other mandates, they prohibit long, flat, blank walls and rooflines — apparent features of the drawings shown Thursday — and they call for the use of dormers, parapets, stepped roofs, cornices, plus wall offsets and recesses — absent or minimal in the drawings.
Leaving the press conference, Lake George Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson offered his thoughts.
“This hotel development is a real asset to the entire community and county — it’s not just a village project,” he said. “This is our shot — Bring it on!”