Hopes to buy, move to High Peaks ski center; office in GF/Saratoga
Chronicle managing editor Cathy DeDe writes: The Adirondack Mountain Club aims to sell its headquarters building on Goggins Road off Lake George Northway Exit 21, with hopes to move into a new, higher profile location in Lake Placid. “As we try to reach as many hikers and visitors as possible, we see value in having property more in the heart of the Adirondacks,” ADK executive director Michael Barrett told The Chronicle.
They have their eye on Cascade Cross-Country Ski Center on Route 73, in the corridor between Lake Placid and Keene Valley, which is up for sale and where the club once leased space.
“We listed our property on the chance that we would be able to successfully purchase that building up north,” says Mr. Barrett.
“Ten to 12 million people are coming to the Adirondacks every year. If they even come by Lake George, anecdotally, they are mostly driving right past Exit 21.
“It may not work out, but we decided to put the property on the market in case it does. If it doesn’t, we can stay and embrace some strategies to get people to come off the Northway and visit us.”
The Lake George property, listed for sale for $990,000, has a log building designed in 1984 as a printing shop, says listing agent Mark Levack. It has offices on two stories, a large showroom and warehouse space, loading dock and detached garage with apartment, as well as unique features such as ground source geothermal heating and a permeable parking lot, he said.
Zoning is residential-commercial high density and medium density. It “can accommodate a wide array of commercial uses,” Mr. Levack said, adding it’s been on the market for just two weeks.
ADK aims for now to sell just the building and surrounding property — about two acres — retaining another approximate two acres of the property.
“We didn’t know whether it was wiser to hold onto” the additional acreage “or not,” said Mr. Barrett. “So we’re not leading with that.” But it would be available if a buyer wanted it.
Mr. Barrett says that when ADK bought the property, they thought hikers would use it as an information center.
“I don’t think that ever really panned out,” he says. “We don’t get the foot traffic. People driving up early in the morning to hike aren’t going to stop in Lake George.”
Mr. Barrett said ADK has applied for a $500,000 grant through the Environmental Protection Fund to help with the possible purchase, and “we’re in talks with the family” that owns Cascade Ski Center.
In July, ADK went before the Town of North Elba, to enlist its support on the acquisition. It would involve public easement on the property, Mr. Barrett said. There are extensive ski trails.
The Adirondack Almanac reported that ADK aims to “open up the privately owned cross-country ski trails to the public through a public easement, and perhaps even update the trails for use year-round.”
Mr. Barrett was quoted, “My immediate thought was…it would be terrible for the community if this would be sold for private interests.”
Mr. Barrett tells The Chronicle the Cascade site also offers enhanced programming space for workshops and launching guided hikes, beyond what the club currently offers at its Adirondak Loj in Keene.
“We want to grow and reach more people but we haven’t had the space,” he says. “Our programs are sold out every time, as soon as we post them.”
The Cascade has office space, but that’s not really needed, says Mr. Barrett. With Covid, he said, “We are realizing many of our staff don’t really have to be in person in the office. They can work remotely.”
He said ADK is also thinking to maintain a presence in the southern Adirondacks, likely in a downtown city setting, “either Glens Falls or Saratoga.”
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