Catskills Hotel Project Gets $525M in Redevelopment Funding

Redevelopment of the site that was once home to the Borscht Belt’s legendary Concord Hotel, in Kiamesha Lake, N.Y., has taken two major steps forward. In one, Concord Associates L.P., joint venture partner of Empire Resorts Inc., has completed a $225 million equity loan financing with Entertainment Properties Trust, a REIT based in Kansas City. In the other, the County of Sullivan (N.Y.) Industrial Development Agency has announced a $300 million bond financing for the resort’s redevelopment, the agency’s first major funding for the $1.1 billion project. In its prime, the Concord Hotel was one of the largest in the Catskills, with more than 1,500 guest rooms and a dining room that seated 3,000. The overall resort encompassed about 2,000 acres and included a well-known golf course called The Monster, which is still in operation. But like other resorts in the region, the Concord fell victim to changing tastes and times in the 1960s and 1970s. It was eventually sold at a bankruptcy auction in January 1999 for $10.25 million to a partnership that included area developer Louis Capelli, now managing member of Concord Associates. “The completion of this equity financing and the pending IDA financing mark two critical milestones for our company,” David Hanlon, CEO of Empire Resorts, said in a prepared statement. “We are hopeful that foundation building permits will be issued in the next few days with concrete work for the new hotel and convention center to begin almost immediately. Demolition of the former structures on the site, which began late spring, is complete.” The redevelopment plans call for construction of a new 750-room hotel; a 125-room hotel and spa; and about 300,000 square feet of casino, ballrooms, meeting rooms, retail, entertainment and other commercial uses. In addition, the nearby Monticello Raceway will be relocated to the property and re-branded as Concord Downs, and the golf courses are to be rebuilt and branded by “a world-renowned golf course designer.” Negotiations are also under way to bring a themed hotel and indoor water park to the resort.