Dan Hust | Democrat
DEMOLITION OF THE old Concord Resort complex buildings continued last week. Developer Louis Cappelli learned earlier this week that the state aproved a deal which makes his $1 billion dollar project possible.
By Dan Hust
KIAMESHA LAKE Developer Louis Cappelli said this week’s State Legislature approval of an agreement with his Concord redevelopment team “clears the way” for his $1 billion “Entertainment City” project.
It’s actually already begun, with the old resort being completely demolished in anticipation of a 750-room hotel and convention center.
Cappelli had warned that had the state not promised the assistance he was asking, the project would have been scaled down by $500 million.
The Westchester County-based developer, however, will now go forward with the larger plan, which calls for 2,000 jobs spread amongst the hotel/convention center, a parking garage, the relocated Monticello racino, the International and Monster golf courses (complete with a rebuilt clubhouse) and a nearly 500-unit townhouse development that will include its own hotel and spa.
Though a full-fledged casino like Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun is not part of the current plan, Cappelli has partnered with Empire Resorts owner of Monticello Gaming and Raceway to move the track and its video lottery terminals (VLTs) to a spot next door to the new hotel.
Legislators agreed to let Empire keep 75 percent of the VLT revenue in exchange for $38 million in education funding and the promised billion-dollar investment.
Governor David Paterson, whose signature is needed to complete the deal, expressed full support.
“This deal will help return the Catskills to their former glory, a destination spot,” he remarked this week. “This agreement is a big win for Monticello, Sullivan County and all of New York State.”
“This is a classic win-win situation for the Catskill region and the people of the State of New York,” agreed NYS Senator John Bonacic. “Our region needs revitalization, and this project will do just that.”
“The Concord initiative will have a positive impact on the economic health of Sullivan County as well as the entire mid-Hudson region and the State of New York,” added Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther.
“We are absolutely delighted and pleased to hear that after a decade of waiting, we are finally starting to see real movement and progression on this project,” said Sullivan County Legislature Chair Jonathan Rouis, speaking on behalf of his fellow legislators. “Given the difficult economic times we are facing, it has never been more apparent that Sullivan County needs sound, sustainable development.”
Cappelli promised construction would start this summer (with an opening targeted for 2010) and thanked the involved politicians for their help.
“After years of dashed hopes,” he remarked, “the new Concord Entertainment City will soon be a reality.”