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April 17, 2014
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Nearly $142 million tax break sought; Concord project applies to IDA


The destination resort project being planned for the site of the old Concord Hotel is ambitious. According to documents on the project’s website (www.eptconcordresort.com), “When complete, the EPT Concord Resort will include an 18-hole golf course, a casino resort, harness horse race track, grandstand/showroom, simulcast facility, hotels, a recreational vehicle park and an entertainment village with supporting retail stores. In addition, there will be a residential village with a mix of housing, including condos, apartments, townhouses and detached single-family homes. A multi-use trail system will connect the living units to abundant open spaces.”

The investors in the project have applied to the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) for significant tax breaks. According to application documents, tax breaks being sought for phase one of the project amount to $15 million in sales tax, $1.09 million in mortgage tax and $126.7 million in property tax.

The application also says, “For both phase one and to the extent that financial assistance programs are utilized for the overall project, payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) would be negotiated.”

On the other side of the ledger, the application projects that many jobs will be created. The application says, “Construction of the proposed project is anticipated to directly generate 6,325 person-years of employment in New York State, of which 5,674 person-years are anticipated in the Catskills region. (A person-year is the equivalent of one person working full time for a year.) ‘This economic activity would lead to the creation of additional indirect and induced jobs. Total employment… including direct, indirect, and induced jobs, is estimated to be 11,356 person-years in New York State, with 8,784 person-years of employment in the Catskills region. Total employee compensation is estimated at $1,681 million in the Catskills region.”

While many of the new employment positions will be created for local residents, the application projects that some will come from outside the area but will not have a major impact on housing. The application says, “Some small portion of the direct employment would require specialized degrees or a more advanced skillset, and could result in potential in-migration. It is expected that the potential new residents could find housing as there are 2,453 vacant housing units that are for rent or for sale in Sullivan County.”

At full build-out, the application assumes that the property tax bill of the entire property will be worth $42 million per year, with property tax payments being split between Sullivan County, the Town of Thompson and the Monticello School District. The application seeks for the project to pay no property taxes on the projects for eight years, and then to pay increasing amounts with payment of the full amount kicking in at 16 years.

Further, the applicant projects that the project at full build-out “will generate $8.5 million in sales tax, $4.4 million in hotel occupancy tax, and $46.5 million in vendor track fees annually.”

This information is contained in a 49-page economic analysis of the project which also says, “Based on preliminary estimates, the total cost for developing the proposed project is estimated at $1,538.84 million in 2012 dollars, which includes $327.93 million for phase one construction.” Phase one includes the racino, a hotel and the harness track.

Finally, the application says that there will be no adverse impacts to the region. It says, “The proposed project would be beneficial to the local as well as the regional Catskill economy and is not anticipated to result in any significant adverse socioeconomic impacts. Therefore, no mitigation measures are proposed.”