Kutsher's suitor wants IDA benefits
Story by Dan Hust
MONTICELLO November 8, 2013 Prior to a coming vote, the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Board listened to a slew of exclusively supportive comments Wednesday regarding the proposed $90 million makeover of the former Kutsher’s Resort.
Currently called the Veria Lifestyle Management Center, the proposed 265-room health resort would transform the now-closed Kutsher’s into a holistic treatment and healing facility based on Eastern natural medicine philosophies. No casino is involved.
Veria is part of a global media empire run by Subhash Chandra, one of India’s richest businessmen, who anticipates buying the 1,310-acre Monticello property from the Kutsher family by the end of this month.
With a desire to open the health resort in 2015, Veria is moving quickly to obtain IDA tax abatement benefits, which was the focus of Wednesday’s public hearing at the Thompson Town Hall.
More than two dozen speakers and letter-writers indicated nothing but support for the project and the benefits it will receive, which includes a 15-year abatement program: no real property taxes for the first eight years, then a gradual increase in payments until the full taxable rate is reached in year 16.
A cost-benefit analysis by the IDA-contracted Capacity Business Consulting calculated the abatements would value over $18 million but the positive economic impacts of the project would total over $117 million between 2014 and 2031.
Union leaders and local economic development leaders pushed for the granting of the abatements, with speakers like SUNY Sullivan President Karin Hilgersom envisioning collaborative community efforts that would include working with the resort on the college’s coming Nourishment Arts curriculum.
Legislature Chairman Scott Samuelson indicated Kutsher’s new owners would be welcome, not just because of the health focus but the promise of more than 300 jobs with an average compensation of $50,000 a year.
“This project… seems like it’s been handpicked for Sullivan County,” he told the IDA. “It fits… with the things we want to have happen in Sullivan County.… I couldn’t be more in favor and more excited about it.”
Later that day, Veria scored an approval from the Thompson Town Board to purchase the Old Liberty Road Sewage Company, which serves Kutsher’s.
The IDA Board is scheduled to vote on the abatement application at its next regular public meeting, set for this Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Government Center in Monticello.