$700M Casino, Hotel Development Planned in Catskills

After a government denial halted the proposed $600 million St. Regis Mohawk Casino at Monticello Raceway, Empire Resorts Inc. has joined forces with Concord Associates L.P. to relocate the development to a 160-acre parcel of land at the site of the closed Concord Hotel. Closing under the agreement is subject to various approvals and closing conditions. Construction is expected to commence later this year, with a grand opening in 2010. Plans for the project include a gaming and entertainment facility at the site. The main feature of the development will be a $700 million entertainment complex consisting of a 100,000-square-foot gaming area, convention center, hotel, golf , retail stores, restaurants and various family entertainment activities. The 1.5 million-square foot facility has already received required zoning and final site plan approvals. The gaming floor will be built within the hotel, adjacent to a new harness track. The former Concord Hotel closed around 1998 to 1999. It was purchased by Louis Cappelli with plans for a redevelopment, but no development surfaced until this deal. Today Cappelli, is the managing member of Concord Associates. Empire Resorts Inc. partnered with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe to develop the St. Regis Mohawk Casino at Monticello Raceway (pictured). In January, the tribe filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of the Interior, among others, in federal district court for unlawfully rejecting the tribe’s application under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 to place approximately 29 acres of land in Sullivan County in trust for the tribe. On Jan. 4, the tribe received a letter indicating that the request was denied based upon regulations relating to the need of the tribe for additional land, the purposes for which the land would be used, and the distance of the land from the tribe’s reservation. Empire Resorts, Inc. issued a statement that it “has not abandoned the St. Regis Mohawk casino project in Monticello and has no intention of doing so. Given the recent rejection of the tribe’s class III gaming project at the Monticello Raceway … the company and the tribe must now continue to work together on a joint litigation strategy to overturn the secretary’s unfair and unwarranted decision. Pending the outcome of this litigation, the company, in furtherance of its fiduciary obligations to its stockholders, is exploring additional business proposals.” The 29.31-acre proposed land into trust site at the raceway will continue to be available to the company for a future St. Regis Mohawk gaming project. The company has no current alternative plans for this site, according to its information. Empire is also working to develop a “Class III” Native American casino and resort on a site adjacent to the raceway and other gaming and non-gaming resort projects in the Catskills and beyond.