Pitching Adelaar to the public; The favorite in the race for a casino license
BETHEL, NY — David Brain, the president and CEO of EPR Properties, unveiled the name of the proposed casino resort at the site of the former Concord Hotel. The name is Adelaar, which is a Dutch word for Eagle.
The unveiling occurred in front of a packed Event Gallery at Bethel Woods on March 13, and details of the venture were explained in some depth.
As presentations regarding casino resorts go—and there have been many over the past decade—this one was among the most seductive, with two slickly produced videos that overflowed with the promise of the good times to come.
The presentation promised a total of nearly 5,000 construction and resort jobs; it also promised that the resort would provide $100 million in tax revenues for the region, and $600 million in increased economic activity.
Brain emphasized that from the time his company started work on the project three years ago, it was always assumed that Adelaar would be more than merely a casino. It would be a full resort destination. At this point plans include a “village” with apartments and retail outlets; a “sporting club” with a spa and resort homes; a redesigned golf course and new clubhouse; a “family resort hotel” with an indoor water park and “Mountain Coaster;” a “casino resort and entertainment village” with full scale gaming, dining and entertainment.
Missing from the press materials was any mention of the Monticello racetrack being included in the facility. This is likely due to the fact that the horsemen at the track and the management of Monticello Raceway are locked in a battle about the amount of revenues from the future resort that will go to the horsemen.
It is clear, however, the EPR is still working closely with Empire Resorts, which owns Monticello Raceway. At the event, Emanuel Pearlman, chairman of the board of Empire, promised that the community would benefit from Adelaar. He said, “This will not be another Atlantic City, where the casino is successful and the city is left with nothing.”
Several speakers underscored the fact that Adelaar has been in the works for three years, and has already acquired the necessary environmental reviews and permits to go forward, which according to many local officials gives the project an advantage among the nine projects that are seeking the one or two licenses that will be awarded in this region. Brain said if the company receives a license to operate a casino this fall, the company will be able to begin construction within 30 days.
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther alluded to competition from developers in Orange County who have expressed their desire to open a casino closer to the city. She said the “intent” of the legislation was to benefit economically depressed areas, suggesting that a Sullivan County casino should more properly receive a license than one in Orange.
Elsewhere on the casino front, at their town meeting on March 12, the Bethel town board voted four to one in favor of supporting two casinos in Sullivan County. Council member Dawn Ryder voted “no,” because she said the impacts of casinos would outweigh any benefits.
In the town of Cochecton, on the same night, the board voted three to one to pass a similar resolution, with council member Larry Richardson voting “no.”