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Concord project a go; brownfield site clean-up to begin

By Fritz Mayer
June 1, 2011

Developer Louis Cappelli’s long-delayed plans to rebuild the old Concord Hotel in Kiamesha Lake seem to be back on track. On May 26, the New York State Racing and Wagering board informed Cappelli that if he builds a racetrack, the board will give him a license to operate it.

That may not be the end of the story, however, because Empire Resorts, which was formerly a partner in the project and owner and operator of a track just a few miles away in Monticello, has vowed to fight the license and may well bring a lawsuit against the wagering board and Cappelli.

Cappelli is building the new hotel, which will have more than 250 rooms and 211 video gaming terminals, in partnership with the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority. If construction begins this summer, the facility might be open in 2013.

In the meantime, however, remedial work at the site may soon begin. On May 27, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that work to clean-up four contaminated portions of the sprawling site is expected to begin in early June.

The contaminated areas, or brownfield sites, are comprised of about 35 acres out of the total of 1,700 acres. The hotel was built in the 1920s and was expanded over the decades through the 1960s. According to the DEC, the affected areas are contaminated with inorganic compounds, such as pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls and metals.

There are also “petroleum constituents associated with various underground storage tanks.” And there is also a “Freon plume likely associated with a former ice skating rink and large air-conditioning systems.” There is also an area that was used by the owners of the hotel as an unlicensed and unregulated garbage dump.

The DEC said the work to remediate the sites is expected to take about six months. When the DEC is satisfied that the work is complete, it will give final approval that will allow Cappelli to receive tax credits to offset the cost of the clean-up.