January 2, 2013 —
The project to turn the former Concord Hotel site into a destination resort seems to be moving forward again. A company called EPR Properties (EPR), formerly Entertainment Properties Trust, is in the driver’s seat, and developer Louis Cappelli, who was formerly driving the project, is now on the sidelines.
The Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) voted on December 27 to end its agreement with Cappelli, and accepted a check in the amount of about $157,000 to cover costs incurred under the agreement with Cappelli. This clears the way for the IDA to come up with a new agreement with EPR.
The project is similar to the one proposed by Cappelli in 2008, when the Great Recession hit and Cappelli was unable to raise the capital needed to take the project forward. It ground to a halt with footings for new buildings poured but further construction halted.
With that project seemingly going nowhere, Empires Resorts, the owner of Monticello Casino & Raceway, parted company with Cappelli and worked out a new deal with EPR. Legal action followed and when the dust settled, Cappelli owned about 116 acres of the site and a lease on an additional 55 acres, while EPR came away with about 1,600 acres.
The proposed $600 million project involves moving the racino and racetrack from its current location on Route 17B to the Concord site. It also includes the construction of two hotels with 650 rooms, the revamping of the Monster Golf Course and the construction of an indoor water park.
According to the EPR website (www.eprkc.com ), the company owns 124 entertainment properties, including megaplex theaters and “family entertainment centers;” 17 recreation properties, including water parks, golf courses and ski parks; and 41 public charter schools.
Town of Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini said he is certain that the EPR project will move forward. He said “They have met all the deadlines that they themselves had set.” If all goes according to plan, construction could begin in the spring.
At press time, there was a special Town of Thompson meeting scheduled for January 2 at 12 noon, to go over details of the plan. Thompson officials had a few questions about it. For instance, the initial plan called for the inclusion of a 16,000-square-foot medical center. Cellini said, “We negotiated and they’ve taken that out.” He said it was not needed because of the existence of the Catskill Regional Medical Center.
He said there were a few other minor questions, but over all, “I’m more than positive this is going to happen, finally.”
It’s not clear what will become of the property still owned or controlled by Cappelli.