Fort William Henry Hotel's next expansion fueled by housing shortage

Kathy Muncil, chief executive of the Fort William Henry resort, said that they need housing but she doesn't want to buy another hotel.

Fort William Henry Hotel's next expansion fueled by housing shortage

The Fort William Henry Hotel is looking to build dormitory-style housing near its 18-acre Lake George Resort as a way to attract more seasonal culinary staff across the country.

A housing shortage combined with the tight labor market is fueling chief executive Kathy Muncil's plan to purchase and renovate a former motel-turned-office-and-retail plaza at 2199 Route in Lake George.

Muncil stated that the only way to ensure we have a solid culinary team is to provide housing.

Fort William Henry has asked the Lake George Planning Board for permission to convert a two-building property on 0.4 acres into dorms.

The investment proposal comes less than two-years after the Fort William Henry owners sold their 87 room Lake George Best Western hotel on Route 9N near Exit 21 of Northway. The Best Western Hotel sold for $4.6 Million, allowing money to be used to renovate the main resort complex on the southwest banks of Lake George.

Muncil stated, "I do not want to purchase another hotel but we need housing."

She said that a declining population year-round has made it harder for hotel and restaurant owners in Lake George to find seasonal staff. There are fewer J-1 visa holders coming to the region each summer.

Fort William Henry employed approximately 100 seasonal workers last summer who worked in the country under exchange student visas.

As more cottages and houses are renovated and turned into VRBO and Airbnb vacation rentals, housing is becoming scarcer for seasonal workers.

Muncil stated that there are only six or seven spots. There used to be thirty."