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Cappelli proposes townhouses, possible casino for Liberty

Kevin McManus represents developer Louis Cappelli and presents plans for a development at the Grossinger’s site.
TRR photo by Carol Montana

By Carol Montana
August 21, 2013

Kevin McManus of McManus and Associates Land Development Services presented a conceptual master plan for a new Grossinger Country Resort at the Town of Liberty board meeting on August 19.

Representing Louis Cappelli’s Sullivan Resorts, which owns 480 acres in the Town of Liberty, as well as 102 acres in the Village, McManus laid out plans to demolish all the former Grossinger buildings and replace them with a convention center complete with a 300-room luxury hotel, townhouses, a spa and even, possibly, an assisted living facility.

The project would preserve Grossinger Lake and the current Big G championship golf course and add a state-of-the-art clubhouse. A restaurant, nightclub, recreational areas, supportive retail shops, and possibly a casino would also be part of the project.

The old Grossinger resort is currently zoned R1, which permits single-family and two-family homes, but does not permit the proposed hotel and several project components.

“We realize the R1 doesn’t permit this,” said McManus. “We observed that the zoning code includes the ability of the town to assign an overlay district that would be known as a PUD for this property… which does permit a lot of these alternative uses I’ve talked about.… It does not include the possibility of a hotel or a casino.”

McManus said the casino is not going to drive the project, but Sullivan Resorts would like to see if the town would consider the possibility of allowing the overlay to include those two additional uses. “We think we’ve presented a plan that provides a significant amount of diversity and preserves a significant amount of open space.”

While the feedback from the board was mostly positive, questions were raised both by board members and the public about Louis Cappelli’s track record at the Concord Hotel site.

McManus acknowledged that “we’re having a very steep hill to climb” and said the project would start with a schedule to demolish the existing buildings to “show our intention to proceed and make an actual phase-in of the demo part of the approval process.”

Town Supervisor Charlie Barbuti expressed his optimism. “I would certainly like to see it happen. We’re already in the process of changing the PUD to specifically permit gaming because right now it specifically excludes it.”