LAKE PLACID – The Summit Hotel on Saranac Avenue has closed and changed hands. The new owners hope to open the new, renovated Bluebird Lake Placid hotel by next year’s World University Games.
Lark Hotels bought the hotel Feb. 3 from its former owner, Lake Placid Inka LLC, for about $7.7 million, according to Lark Hotels president and founder Rob Blood.
Lark Hotels has been around for 10 years, and Blood said the group’s criteria for selecting new hotel locations focuses on iconic destinations. Lark often looks for areas that already have strong tourist appeal.
“Without a doubt, Lake Placid is an iconic destination,” Blood says. “It’s known all over the world.”
He added that Lark sought to expand his catalog of hotels in Lake Placid for five or six years before finding the Summit, which he calls a “natural fit” for the group’s Bluebird by Lark brand.
Lark Hotels has 42 hotels in the North East across the company’s three brands – Lark Hotels, Lark Independent and Bluebird by Lark. Blood said the Bluebird brand is based on “the great American road trip”, take old hotels and RVs and reinvigorate them. This will be Lark’s first hotel in the Adirondacks, although the group does have a nearby hotel in Saratoga Springs.
Blood said the group had previously been involved in renovations. The first step was to clean up all the old furniture – everything was sold for $5 a piece – and the next steps will be demolition and restoration. Blood says the bones in the building are good.
“We can focus on the fun things” he said.
All bathrooms and public areas will be renovated, according to Blood, and he hopes to turn the former Mis Amigos restaurant into rented commercial space.
The hotel will have a “Clean, Scandinavian, Nordic design“ he said. “Every surface will be affected.”
Code enforcement officer Mike Orticelle said the Lark Hotels team should meet with the building and planning department to discuss their plans, but no appointment has been set. . He said if Lark decides to change the building’s color or footprint, the group will need to have those changes approved by the Lake Placid-North Elba review board. Blood said his team will likely come up with changes to the exterior of the building, but he doesn’t yet know what they will look like.
Blood’s goal is to open the doors to Bluebird on January 1, 2023, before the World University Games. He called the date January 1 a “aggressive schedule” but he hopes the renovations will be completed by November so that furniture installations and finishing touches will be done by December.
Asked about building material supply issues related to the pandemic, Blood said Lark had been lucky because he had worked on other projects over the past year and a half. General contractor Sano Rubin, who completed Lark’s hotel in Saratoga Springs, is expected to do the work in Lake Placid, and Blood said Lark is in “very good shape” regarding the workforce in Lake Placid. He said they had identified the “long term materials” this may take longer to arrive on site and should be prioritized.
Blood hopes to use any former Summit staff who are willing to return when Bluebird opens, but he acknowledges that nearly a year is a long time to wait for work. He expects to need around 40 to 50 staff once the hotel opens – around 20 to work in the hotel and between 20 and 35 to tend the restaurant and bar – but he said the Restaurant space was not yet fully conceptualized.
Blood recently traveled to Lake Placid with his design team to get video and drone footage of the hotel, and he said they spoke to some people in the town of Bluebird while dining at the restaurant.
“The consensus was that it was good that something was going to happen with the building,” he said.
Blood said Lark was very excited about expanding to Lake Placid.
“We are delighted to be part of the community”, he said.