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You are here The Red Mill Inn News 2005 News 2005  Story

Mill Owners Focusing On Inn

By Cliff Drought
June 03, 2005
Mill Owners Focusing On Inn


The Mercer Mill property
The Mercer Mill property could become a 32-room inn designed to compliment other village of Baldwinsville businesses.

BALDWINSVILLE, N.Y.- The new owners of the Mercer Mill property are looking at scaling down previous plans for the building and concentrating more on an inn concept.

Jay Bernhardt, of Liverpool, and Jake McKenna, a Van Buren resident, purchased the property in May from Jim Orlando for $700,000. At one time, Orlando and his former partners had been planning a 39-room inn with a convention center, banquet facility, restaurant and bar.

"Our plan is going to be a little different," McKenna said Thursday during a presentation to the Baldwinsville Village Board.

While their plans are not finalized, McKenna said they would like to focus on turning the historic building primarily into an inn. "There are a number of fine restaurants and fine banquet facilities in the village . we want to compliment the businesses that are here and not compete with other businesses," he explained.

Jake McKenna
Jake McKenna

The two men said they are in the design phase now, but anticipate the inn having 30 or 32 rooms. McKenna said hopes are for the inn do much of its business on the weekdays, possibly working with the village in planning business events on Paper Mill Island or serving those coming into the area on trips for Anheuser-Bush.

"The bottom line is we want to bring new money into the village," McKenna explained. "I think if we concentrate more on an inn-type facility I think we can do that."

The developers said they would stick to original plans of emphasizing the history or the 180-year-old building, which is the last remaining mill in the village.

Instead of expanding the building the roughly 35 feet that Orlando's plan called for, McKenna said plans are to largely stick to the original footprint of the mill and "restore the building to what is was in the 1800s and early 1900s."

"Our plan would bring it much more to what it looked like."

Jay Bernhart
Jay Bernhardt

Bernhardt, who owns JGB Enterprises in Liverpool and Precision Systems in the town of Clay, is originally from the Richfield Springs area. He has purchased and renovated a number of historic buildings in his former hometown.

Historical pictures and items would be displayed in the inn, and there is also the potential of creating a small museum at the site.

Trustee Anthony Saraceni, who introduced Bernhardt and McKenna to Orlando, said he was "pretty excited about the future of that property."

Other village lawmakers also gave a positive reaction to the plans.

"You just ruined my night. I'm not going to sleep . . . I'm excited," trustee Richard Presley told the developers. "You've kept the ball rolling" on revitalizing the village.

Trustee Howard Tupper added that there were a number of rumors prior to the two men buying the building that the former mill would be razed and turned into a parking lot. "This should put all those to rest," he said. "You rescued us."

Jay Bernhart, standing at left, and Jake McKenna, middle, Thursday talk about their plans for the Mercer Mill property.
Jay Bernhardt, standing at left, and Jake McKenna, middle, Thursday talk about their plans for the Mercer Mill property.


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