March 13, 2008


Work picks up at Greek Peak hotel

Greek Peak

Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Tom Pelis, vice president of engineering for the Hope Lake Lodge at Greek Peak, walks over the site Tuesday afternoon. The rear foundation wall, the length of a football field, has already been poured.

Staff Reporter

VIRGIL — The pickup truck parked in what would eventually be the lobby of Hope Lake Lodge. Standing on a muddy terrace, Greek Peak’s vice president of engineering and construction, Tom Pelis, pointed to piles of debris and explained that one marked the location of the spa, another the restaurant and yet another the location of an arcade.
The walls of the first floor of the Hope Lake Lodge have begun to jut from the ground of the site, just down Route 392 from the Greek Peak Mountain Resort. Pelis, who oversees construction for the ski resort, said he gets just a bit irritated when people ask when the project’s going to begin.
“We’ve gone through two summers of site work,” Pelis said, shaking his head in disbelief. “Over 150,000 yards of material has been moved to level the site and grade it.”
But now about 500 yards of concrete have been poured, and portions of the retaining walls that will eventually form the east side of the complex’s hotel tower can now be seen rising above the site since work on them began in January.
The 424-unit, five-story hotel and condominium has been in various stages of development for years, but Greek Peak’s contractors have only begun pouring concrete and actually putting infrastructure in the ground since early December. The goal is to have the building “dried-in,” or closed to the elements, by the time winter hits again at the end of this year, with a scheduled completion sometime in the first quarter of 2009, Pelis said.
In addition to the site work and retaining walls, elevator shafts have been sunk 50 feet into the ground and public water and sewer have been installed. Some construction materiel is on site, and Pelis said that more is on its way, including structural steel and concrete planking for the ceiling of the first floor.
One of the major next steps is bringing in the timber frame for the lodge and hotel.
Only about 500 cubic yards of a total of 2,000 yards of cast-in-place concrete have been poured, and the retaining walls will rise another level. Across from those walls on the eastern side of the site, structural steel will eventually be put in place to form the western side of the hotel/condominium. The hotel would be just over the length of a football field and in front of it to the south — yet to be started — stands the “lodge,” which would house the lobby and the hotel’s restaurant, which Pelis said would be named the Acorn Grill.
Pelis walked through the interior of the future hotel tower, pointing to various areas for the spa, the 3,000-square-foot arcade/Family Fun Center and the commercial laundry for handling the multitude of used towels bound to be produced by not only the hotel, but the 22,000-square-foot water park that juts off at an angle from the northwestern side of hotel tower.
Right now, a large rectangular depression marks the future location of the building shell of the water park. Pelis pointed to the future locations of the wave pool, the two waterslide towers that would snake in and out of the building, the kiddie water playground, the indoor/outdoor pool, and other amenities.
“It’s pretty immense,” Pelis said.
Just the construction of the complex is going to cost a total of about $33 million, but add in the engineering work and the cost goes up to about $37 million, Pelis said. The work involves over 30 separate subcontractors, all being overseen by Greek Peak’s general contractor, Krog Corp., which is based in Orchard Park.
Pelis said the project is incorporating some of the latest in environmentally-friendly building techniques, such as a relatively new technique in this country, variable refrigerant volume for heating and cooling. This is more efficient than the geothermal heat pump the hotel originally planned to use, Pelis said.
Other measures include energy efficient lighting throughout the complex, blown-in insulation, and a device to ozonate the water to be used in the laundry — reducing the usage of hot water by 90 percent.
Pelis is excited about other details, such as a system that uses ultraviolet light instead of chlorine to disinfect water in the water park, and a computer system that starts adjusting the temperature in a room once a guest checks in so the room is the perfect temperature when they open the door.
“It’s going to be a lovely property, and since I’m behind the scenes making sure it’s going to be a lovely property, it’ll have a great infrastructure,” Pelis said. “Because I’m a function over form kind of guy.”