Dan Hust | Democrat
JOE APICELLA, LOUIS Capelli's executive vice president, told a crowd last Thursday that the bulk of the work at the Concord project will be done by unionized businesses.
Concord promises to work with locals
By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO Thursday’s meet-and-greet at Monticello Gaming and Raceway wasn’t the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce’s usual affair.
For one, it attracted 115 businesspeople from around the area. For another, it was all about meeting and greeting a set of entities about to embark on one of the largest construction projects in the Northeast.
Representatives of Concord Associates, Cappelli Enterprises and Empire Resorts chatted with those gathered about their $1 billion plan to reimagine the famed Concord Resort Hotel in Kiamesha Lake.
And they’re willing to give local businesses a slice of what promises to be a lucrative pie.
“Currently, we buy about $14 million worth of products here,” noted Dave Hanlon, CEO of Empire Resorts.
His company operates Monticello Gaming and Raceway and has partnered with Louis Cappelli and his groups to move the racetrack and its video lottery terminals to the Concord when it opens in 2010.
Such a project will soon render that $14 million “inconsequential,” Hanlon added, predicting a huge uptick in business as the Concord grows.
“That’s what we do: we build communities,” said Joe Apicella, Cappelli’s executive vice president. “... We want you to be our partner in this.”
Though Apicella acknowledged that some services may not be able to be provided by local unions, he was clear that unionized businesses would get the bulk of work. Officials even announced that locals interested in union jobs would be trained to become apprentices and earn a wage while learning.
But the prospect of 5,000 construction jobs, 2,000 permanent jobs, and 100,000 square feet of casino space didn’t completely suspend a hard-earned disbelief from some in the audience.
Questions were asked about the recent redesign of architectural plans (crews are back to work, utilizing the existing foundations, said Apicella); financing (“up to this point, we are fully financed,” he confirmed); Grossinger’s (if the Concord is successful, it will spread to Cappelli’s other holdings, he said); and the current site of the Monticello Raceway (a master plan to redefine the facility is under way, confirmed Hanlon).
Perhaps the biggest question of the evening was how much the Concord would work with non-unionized companies.
“There’s always a balance,” said Apicella. “This is an incredible opportunity for Sullivan County.”
Liberty businessman Jim Gordon is counting on that opportunity for his hometown, where he manages store rentals along Main Street and where about a dozen storefronts are available.
“If there’s success here,” he remarked, “it could come back to Liberty.”