By CATHY BROWN
A group planning a boutique hotel in Tupper Lake has rounded up enough funding to go ahead, one of the developers, Betsy Lowe, said Thursday.
Lowe and a partner in the project, Nancy Howard, had held a meeting in Tupper Lake in late July to let the public know that they needed to raise $150,000 in the next 45 days or risk losing a state grant for the Tupper Lake Crossroads Hotel project.
Lowe confirmed Thursday that they had received the financial pledges they need from investors. The start of construction is probably a year out, and further details will be made public soon, she said.
The developers were awarded a $2 million state grant for the project in 2016, which will come to them as reimbursement once the project is finished. Lowe said the overall cost of the project is likely to be $8 million-$9 million.
The proposed three-story, 45-room hotel is to be built on a largely vacant acre of land at the corner of Park and Mill Streets, across from Little Italy. It will include a bar, restaurant, and meeting space for perhaps 50-75 people.
Lowe said the project will “add a nice gathering place that will be supportive of the Wild Center and events they have there.” She expects it will complement the existing motel offerings in Tupper Lake, noting that if people are drawn to events at the hotel’s conference room, there may be more demand for rooms than the relatively small hotel can handle.
Lowe helped launch The Wild Center natural history museum in Tupper Lake, which opened in 2006. Although the hotel is a business venture rather than a nonprofit, she hopes to have a similar level of community support and buy-in and welcomes people who want to become investors or shareholders.
“We’re kind of looking at it in a similar way, in engaging friends and family,” she said. “I think it will be a wonderful project once we get it pulled together.”
Tupper Lake Village Trustee Ron LaScala welcomed the news. The village hosts a number of events but doesn’t always reap the full economic benefit because there aren’t enough places for people to stay, he said.
“The more rooms we have, the better off we are,” he said. “If we can get that many more visitors staying in the heart of the village, how can you go wrong?”
He called Lowe one of Tupper Lake’s “patron saints” for her work starting The Wild Center. “She has certainly changed not only the face but the economics of our community.”