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Questions remain about foundation at former NSA

March 30, 2017
By ANTONIO OLIVERO - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - It's a wait and see process right now for the owners of the site of the former National Sports Academy building at 821 Mirror Lake Drive as digging into the soil and its effect on the structure and surrounding structures will likely dictate how feasible the Placid Inn project is.

At the Wednesday, March 22 regularly scheduled Lake Placid-North Elba Joint Review Board meeting, the feasibility of digging to install retaining walls and change grades was the primary question Joint Review Board Chairman Bill Hurley and the board had for the Magdi Lake Drive LLC-bought property.

In attendance for the first time for local businessman Paolo Magro was engineer Jim Abdallah of AEDA in Plattsburgh. Abdallah said a core sample has not yet been conducted at the site, though he has advised Magro to undertake test excavations to look at soil conditions.

Article Photos

Plattsburgh-based Engineer Jim Abdallah of AEDA speaks to Lake Placid-North Elba Joint Review Board Chairman Bill Hurley at the March 22 meeting, where he represented local businessman Paolo Magro and his plan for a Lake Placid Inn boutique hotel at the site of the former National Sports Academy building.
(News photo β€” Antonio Olivero)

"Before he spends a lot more money and we spend a lot more time, this is a huge grade change," Hurley said to Abdallah. "And for 150 some-odd feet along that side of the building, I know the foundation is there and is holding up the building and it has a basement, but once you take - some foundations are held up by the pressure of the dirt against them. Some relieve pressure on the foundation because it will take the weight off of it. I'm just, I really want to know if it's feasible."

"At this point, what we've designed fits within the design guidelines for the parking and for the function of that entrance and exit," Abdallah replied. "I will say, once again, there is some fieldwork and technical data that will need to be gathered to do some confirmation for final design."

Hurley then asked Abdallah if he'd ever worked on a project with this level of grade change with other buildings located so close to the project.

"When you get into a more urban area, you've got to deal with custom builds, and if they have to do some additional (work on) the building and different things, that's what they'll have to work through," Abdallah replied. "At this point though, the goal is to identify a functional parking lot that provides the necessary parking, that provides the means to build that parking lot, which requires retaining walls around the perimeter of the property lines."

Magro is planning to build a 28,000-square-foot 40-plus room boutique hotel, the Lake Placid Inn, at the site, which is located adjacent to The Lake Placid Pub & Brewery. The board did not finalize dates for an on-site visit and public hearing for the project, though they targeted the week of April 9 to 15 for an on-site visit and their April 19 meeting date for a public hearing.

Magro and his Magdi Lake Drive LLC purchased the property this summer for $1.13 million. In Saranac Lake, Magro also owns Little Italy Pizzeria, Nonna Fina restaurant, the Saranac Lake Shopping Center, the Wholesale Furniture (former Sears) building and its adjacent parking lot that he leases for public use. In Lake Placid, he owns the Lake Placid Inn at 2050 Saranac Ave., a renovated former motel that is now vacation suites.

He bought the NSA property after a sale to a different development group, Walnut Woods-Parkside Inn, fell through early last year.

NSA filed for bankruptcy in January 2015, and the school closed on June 1 of that year after several years of sagging enrollment and debt. The building was put on the market for roughly $1.4 million. The private school for winter sport student-athletes included 23 Olympians in its 38 years. Last year's sale to Magro enabled NSA to shed some of its outstanding debt to lenders and contractors.



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