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Holderied works on residential housing

Peter Holderied stands inside the frame of a future two-bedroom apartment currently under construction in the property’s main building. (News photo — Lauren Yates)

LAKE PLACID — Peter Holderied, village trustee and owner of the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, has initiated new construction on the former Schulte’s Family Lodge, transforming the former tourist spot into much-needed housing for Lake Placid residents.

While Holderied purchased the hotel in 2018 from previous owner Birgit Schulte, his renovations at the Golden Arrow have delayed construction until recently. COVID-19 also brought an all-time rise in lumber prices, which contributed somewhat to the speed of the building process. Now, Holderied can finally get to work on the Cascade Road property.

The property, which used to house multiple buildings, now contains only two: the original two-story building that once contained eight hotel rooms, plus a three-story building that held six hotel rooms and a restaurant on the ground floor.

The main building is the one currently under construction, and Holderied is combining its eight hotel rooms to become four two-bed, one-bath apartments, complete with a kitchen and living space, to total 650 square feet. Construction workers have now effectively combined each hotel room by knocking down adjoining walls, revealing spacious apartments that are still waiting for drywall.

The second building is a little more of a question mark for Holderied, though he has some plans for residential living there. The structure was built as an addition to the Schulte property right before the 1980 Winter Olympics, most likely in anticipation of the tourists arriving. The entire building hasn’t seen new paint, decor or even bedding in the last few decades. The bottom floor has the original handmade chairs and tables that used to fill the restaurant space. The upstairs has six oddly intact motel rooms, complete with made-up beds, tidy furniture and full curtains, plus years of dust.

A former Schulte's Family Lodge building awaits its transformation into studio apartments. (News photo — Lauren Yates)

“The beds are older than death,” Holderied said.

He acknowledges the antiquity of the rooms in anticipation of making drastic updates. Holderied is persistent in regularly modernizing both the Golden Arrow and the new Cascade Road property, to make customers and tenants more comfortable and “to keep with the times.”

While definitive residential plans for the secondary building aren’t set, Holderied has intentions of transforming the hotel rooms into studio apartments.

Behind the two buildings, he’d like to design a common outdoor space, perhaps fencing the area in to create a sense of community between the buildings’ tenants.

Also on the property is a small patch of land with some cedar trees, which he hoped to turn into a more commercial marketplace or a convenience store like Maplefields; however, he said the gas station chain declined his request for unknown reasons.

Michael O’Farrell of Lake Placid works away at the second floor of the main building. (News photo — Lauren Yates)

“We need something like that on this end of town,” Holderied said. “This end of town’s got nothing. If you’re local, who wants to go to the other side of town to get little things?”

He’s still working on securing a market for the small space, because his first priority is accommodating the surrounding Lake Placid residents’ basic needs. And when it comes to who he wants to fill the Cascade Road apartments, Holderied said “the Lake Placid workforce,” considering restaurant workers, maintenance workers and more.

He plans to make the apartments affordable, estimating $1,000/month for the two-bedroom apartments. However, to Holderied, affordable does not equal shoddy.

“These buildings are in great shape, but they just haven’t been updated, ever. The structure is great,” he said.

It’s close to town, right by the main highway, but just far enough away from the Main Street bustle. The buildings just need some renewal on the inside, re-plastering on the outside, and a little bit of love to make the apartments as good as new for Lake Placid residents. It’s an honest attempt to make Adirondack-style living accessible to the community, not just tourists.

“Housing is in huge crisis with all these vacations rentals taking over. It’s not good for the local population,” he said, aside from bringing in work for housekeepers and construction workers. Many workers live in Saranac Lake or the AuSable River Valley because no one can afford Lake Placid, he said. And it’s another reason why Lake Placid business owners are having a hard time finding local employees to work consistently.

Holderied was partially inspired to take on the project when he noticed his own employees at the Golden Arrow having a hard time finding places to stay nearby. When he can, Holderied houses many of his employees who work on renovations and maintenance at his properties. He shows his dedication to the community through his attention to his employees and the Cascade Road project, though he knows that the new apartments may only make a “tiny bit” of difference in solving the local housing crisis. Even so, what Holderied may consider a labor of love is a humble attempt to make Lake Placid housing more accessible to the actual residents of Lake Placid.

The main apartment building, with four, two-bedroom apartments, is due to open in June 2022 at the earliest, since Holderied’s crew will resume renovations at the Golden Arrow this November.