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Casino dreams in Liberty; Plans for a ‘right-sized’ destination resort

The entrance to the shuttered Grossinger’s Resort will be reconfigured if the project successfully moves forward.
TRR photo by Fritz Mayer

By Fritz Mayer
February 11, 2014

Liberty, NY — Jeff Kay, the CEO of Muss Development, said several times that the impact of the proposed casino resort would be minimal, because the property was formerly the site of a resort hotel.

Of course, the same claim can be made of the proposed Empire Resorts/EPR casino project in the Town of Thompson, because that property would also be located on the site of a former resort hotel.

Further, the Nevele Investors are also proposing to build a casino on the site of a former resort hotel.

The impact on the environment is one of several factors the casino siting committee will be considering when they choose the locations of the four upstate casinos to be built in the near future.

There may be one, and at most two casinos built in the Catskills region, and the one proposed for Liberty was the topic of discussion at a meeting of the Liberty town and village boards and planning boards on February 10 at Liberty High School.

About 200 people turned out to see the presentation, which was anchored by Kay, whose New York City-based company has owned most of the land around Grossinger’s for 30 years.

Muss has teamed up with Foxwoods, which operates the largest casino in North America, located in Connecticut. Kay said the proposed Liberty Casino, which would be called Foxwoods Catskill Resort Casino, would not be the largest in the nation. He said it would be “right sized” for the market.

While the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut covers about eight million square feet, the casino in Liberty would be closer to one million square feet.

The casino would provide many amenities to draw in visitors, including not only the hotel, casino and restaurants, but also outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, tennis, soccer, basketball and baseball. The plan also calls for a marina on the existing lake and an equestrian center. The resort will also offer camping and “adventure park trails.”

Salvatore Semola, president of Foxwoods Catskills Resort LLC, said, “Our project would create hundreds of new jobs, starting with the construction and continuing for decades, as we operate what we’re sure will be a premier destination resort with great amenities.”

In selecting the projects that will be granted licenses, the siting committee will be considering support from the community. It’s not known exactly how that support will be measured, because the requests for proposals that will go out to various developers have not yet been created.