By Jeanne Sager
JEFFERSONVILLE April 26, 2002 A new inn will be rising out of the ashes of the Lake Jefferson Hotel.
Property owner Al Zecchine, the New York City developer who purchased the hotel last year, has announced his plans for the rebirth of the landmark tentatively called the Remington Inn on Lake Jeff.
Zecchine told the Democrat about his plans for a family- and values-oriented venue at the hotel in February, just days before the building burned to the ground in an accidental fire.
Now, with help from Mike Sullivan, head of the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development, and Jacquie Leventoff, president of the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce, Zecchine is back on the road to rebuilding his dream.
With their help, the project has gone beyond the unfortunate incident of the fire and begun to take shape rather dramatically, Zecchine noted.
The planned inn is being designed by Joe Hurwitz of West Hurley, the architect responsible for a number of county projects, including the Frontier building in Rock Hill.
The building will include 16 inn-type rooms, each with their own private terrace overlooking the lake. That will include two bridal suites with jacuzzis, Zecchine said.
There will be a catering hall which can accommodate up to 250 guests, and kosher catering will be available.
And there will be a restaurant featuring an acclaimed New York City chef with an open-style presentation kitchen.
That will allow guests to see whats going on, Zecchine explained. That will be part of the fun they can be part of the experience.
The project is designed to cater primarily to area residents.
We want to cater to the everyday crowd, so to speak, Zecchine said. And if people from out of the area want to come, theyre welcome as well.
But its not designed for outsiders its designed for the community.
Zecchine, who owns a home in the Roscoe area, hopes this restaurant will be a shining point in the county, and a source of pride for the Jeffersonville community.
Though the original 1930s structure of the hotel was consumed by the February fire, the design of the inn will include elements from the landmark building.
Fortunately, Zecchine said, the historic mahogany bar from the Lake Jeff Hotel had been removed from the structure prior to the fire, which means they will be able to use that in the new inn.
We hope to have a historical feel to this, he noted. Were looking to take the original concept of the Lake Jeff Hotel and bring it into the new millennium.
The fire pushed the project sideways, Zecchine noted. It took us off the path we were on.
But the project is back on track and the planners are slated to make a presentation to the Town of Callicoon Planning Board within the next few months.
If the plans are approved and the project receives the go-ahead from the NYS Department of Transporation and Department of Environmental Conservation, Zecchine hopes to break ground in October and be able to open the doors to the inn by this time next year.
Phase two of the project would then be tackling a rehabilitation of the lake. Zecchine hopes to have boat rentals for guests at the inn, but plans for this portion of the project have not been finalized.
Once complete, the inn is expected to employ at least 20 full-time people, plus seasonal and event staff.