Hotel to condos: The Lodge at Chautauqua Lake

Submitted Photo During the more than two decades of the Webb family’s efforts to expand the tourism base of Mayville, The Lodge at Chautauqua Lake has transformed from a hotel project to a luxury condominium resort featuring fractional ownership options for interested residents. During the more than two decades of the Webb family wanting to expand on the tourism base of Mayville.

MAYVILLE — Spanning three decades, the idea of the Webb family to bring high-end lakeside residences to the Chautauqua Lake shore has transformed a lot over the years, with The Lodge at Chautauqua Lake about to take shape starting next year in the form of a condominium resort.

The original idea for the resort was presented by Jim and Sally Webb to Mayville village government in 1998. As a four-story hotel project, The Lodge was ready to be constructed and had all permits prepared when engineering for State Route 394 required tearing out railroad tracks and brick streets and necessitating new water and sewer lines, a project that was finished in 2004.

This updated infrastructure put The Lodge on hold for years, and when the Webb family, including Jim and Sally’s son Ben Webb, again brought up the idea of a resort along the lake around 2015, the project needed new approval.

“The Webbs put the project on hold at that time,” said Mayville Mayor Marty Bova, who was a village trustee at the time the Webbs put their project on hold for the state route construction. He said the project they introduced years ago ended up being a “completely different design and completely different footprint.”

Since different permits were needed for the expanded idea for the project, the Village Zoning Board of Appeals worked with the family to grant variances for what the new concept for The Lodge. Originally, 13 of 15 variance requests were denied by the board, and changes were made before the pre-construction ribbon cutting in August.

Ideas for The Lodge were tweaked until an accepted vision for a luxury condominium resort along the shore of Chautauqua Lake had its permits approved. The building will consist of 30 fully-furnished units with a variable number of bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms. A lakeview deck, hot tub, pool and other luxury services are planned to be provided.

Construction on The Lodge is slated to begin in spring 2019, and the opening is set for a tentative 2020 date. The marketing team is currently working to gauge interest of families and other potential residents who may want a home away from home.

As of mid-October, approximately 750 names of interested future residents at The Lodge have been gathered since the project became publicly advertised July 20 by Terry Elsemore, project director, and the marketing team.

“We know the interest is there,” Elsemore said. “It’s an area where people will recreate one or two seasons a year.”

That’s where fractional ownership comes in, allowing future owners to stay at their rooms at The Lodge for alternating weeks throughout the year while renting the space out for others to use in between their stays.

“We interview them to understand what their needs would be,” Elsemore said about tailoring ownership to the preferences of clients.

Cycling fractional ownership means that those who get to enjoy The Lodge over Christmas break or the week of the Fourth of July for instance will be able to stay at the resort during different weeks in the summer and winter, allowing everyone who has fractional ownership and rents to have different experiences over a few years of staying at The Lodge. Each person or group of people staying can cycle who lives there every eight to nine weeks. Owners will always be welcome to stay in their unit or a similar unit whenever The Lodge is at 90 percent occupancy or less.

Elsemore has experience working with hotels and ski resorts, having sold more than $1 billion of real estate. The Lodge is his 21st project overall and his sixth project in New York state. He was brought aboard as project director in May shortly after variances for The Lodge were approved.

The next step is to submit a site plan detailing architecture and amenities in scale drawings to the village government for approval. Elsemore said they are ready to submit the site plan and are also interviewing construction companies to take on the project next year. Marketing for the project will continue, Elsemore said, so that this next step can advance the tourism industry in Mayville and the county. Elsemore predicts The Lodge will usher in more support for local businesses.

“I just think that this is the start of something that is the step in the right direction,” Elsemore said.

“It’s definitely going to change the look of the village,” noted Bova, who said the impact will be positive since Mayville’s economy is already largely tourism-based. “Anything we can do to bring people in the community … it’s good for everybody.”

Ben Webb and his sister Heather were encouraged by their parents to take a part in the family business when they were growing up, and Ben Webb eventually returned to his home in 2008 to develop real estate. He said it quickly became evident to him and his family that their resort project needed to be revisited.

“What seemed to make the most sense was something like this,” said Ben Webb, who mentioned that fractional owners at The Lodge will be invested in how business improves in the village. Fractional ownership also encourages owners to stay or rent out rooms year-round instead of just in the summer months.

It was recommended to the Webb family that they get in contact with Elsemore of Fractional Strategies. As a developer, Ben Webb thinks this partnership and level of community and family support for this project will bring people to the area who may not normally come otherwise.

“We’re excited about that,” Ben Webb said. “Mayville should really be a beautiful, thriving, quaint lakeside village. We want to do our part to invest in that idea.”

Ben Webb said he’s glad to see newfound momentum make Chautauqua County an area more tourists will want to visit. He said the county is beginning to get more exciting, which should help what he says he and his family all want: to create jobs and establish a prosperous area.