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Apollo project moving forward; Legislators vote to continue sale process

The long-abandoned Apollo Plaza is a step closer to being renovated as the county legislature voted to take the next step in the process of selling the property to the Resnick Group.
TRR photo by Fritz Mayer

By Fritz Mayer
November 26, 2013

MONTICELLO, NY — There were dozens of professionally printed signs on display at the Sullivan County Government Center on November 21, urging the legislature to turn over the Apollo Plaza property to the Sullivan County Funding Corporation (SCFC) as another step in the process of selling the land to developer Butch Resnick and the Resnick Group.

The overwhelming sentiment of those who spoke during public comment was that the legislature should move forward with selling the property to Resnick, who has made many investments in Sullivan County, and has a solid reputation as a businessman and developer.

Businessman Les Kristt was typical of many who urged the legislature to act “now” to turn the property into a place that would begin to pay property tax and that would generate sales tax for the county.

No one questioned the ability of the Resnick group to do what they have said they would do, which is create a grocery store and attract other retail outlets to the location, and as part of phase two also perhaps build a truck stop. But a few people questioned whether the legislature should be turning over responsibility for the rest of the deal to the SCFC.

Alternative energy consultant Dick Riseling asked, “Will you consider having some control over the final development of this project? Currently your resolution calls for none that I can see.”

Legislator Alan Sorensen echoed that thought, saying, “As a legislator, I’m being asked to sign off on a resolution that in effect delegates the authority that I have as a legislator solely to the SCFC… There is nothing in this resolution, as I see it, that commits the SCFC to set a minimum sales price, to require a certain level of development, to prevent or preclude the property from being flipped or transferred.”

Ira Steingart, who has chair of the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) has worked more closely on the deal than the other legislators, said he was “offended” a “lack of trust in the IDA or in this case the SCFC… that they don’t trust the deal they are going to make.”