Lake George on the Rise
By Anthony F. Hall
Thursday, June 11, 2015
New Hotel is Just the Beginning, Officials Say
In the minds of Lake George Village Mayor Bob Blais and developer Dave Kenny, it’s not just a new six story hotel that’s rising in Lake George Village.
Before the dirt flew at the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Marriott Courtyard on May 14, both spoke about what the multi-million dollar project represented for Lake George: a new era in tourism.
“This is wonderful,” said Blais. “It will be a tremendous catalyst for growth, making Lake George Village a first-class destination.”
With a year-round conference center operating in the heart of Lake George Village, jobs will grow and more shops, restaurants and resorts will remain open year-round, said Blais.
The Marriott itself will house a Canada Street restaurant and five retail stores, all open year-round, said Blais.
“I’ve always said that we had the most beautiful Christmas decorations in the world but when you came to see them, nothing was open. Those days are over,” said Blais.
Although construction of the hotel has just started, the effects are already apparent, Blais noted.
“A wide variety of new retail stores are opening,” Blais asserted.
Blais also cited the improvements to additional properties purchased by Dave Kenny and his family, including Scotty’s and the Mohawk motels and the amusement center operated by his son and daughter, as signs of growth.
Other properties, such as those owned by Mick and Linda Duffy across the street from the new Mariott, are now on the market.
Kenny himself said public, as well as private investment, was responsible for stimulating growth.
“It’s an exciting time for Lake George,” he said. “The Charles R. Wood Park and the Festival Space, the Gateway project along Route Nine that will make Lake George more welcoming, are all important to the future of Lake George,” said Kenny.
Surfside resort owner Salim Amersi’s plan to demolish a fifty room building from the 1980s and replace it with an approximately 40 ft high building, housing fifty modern rooms and suites, is another hopeful sign, said Kenny.
So, too, he added, are the craft distilleries and tasting rooms planned by Adirondack Brewery and Fort William Henry and the new Zip Line scheduled to open soon at Wild West Ranch.
Frank Dittrich, a partner of Kenny’s, noted that in the past, too many people had been reluctant to invest in their own or in new Lake George properties.
“For any area to remain competitive, you need people who will invest and re-invest in the community. Unfortunately, that has not always been the case here. But that’s changing,” he said.
The Marriott is scheduled to open in May, 2016. In addition to 119 rooms and suites, a restaurant and five shops, the hotel will include convention, banquet and meeting spaces.
“There’s no facility in Warren County where all the meeting and banquet space is on one floor, in the same building with the hotel rooms,” said Kenny. “A similar facility has been built in Troy, and it’s taking business away from Albany and the hotels near the airport.”
A national brand like Marriott offers incentives that will make the Lake George hotel a preferred choice for both business travelers and vacationers, said Kenny.
Marriott will also market Lake George to customers throughout the country, said Mayor Blais.
Staff will start soliciting conventions and conferences as soon as the new hotel is completed, said Frank Dittrich.
Those who attend conferences at the Lake George Marriott are likely to return with their families as vacationers, said Michael Consuelo, the executive director
Asked why he was interested in building the hotel, Dave Kenny said, “I’m doing this for the next generation; we’re a shrinking community and unless we want to become a second home community like Bolton Landing, we need new, permanent jobs, which a year-round conference center and resort can help build.”
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