Concord Associates Plans New JV for $600M Casino

The Concord Resort, which will sit on a 116-acre site in New York's Catskills region, boasts a design by Marnell Architecture, whose parent entity, Marnell Cos., will be a partner with Concord in the development.

May 9, 2011
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons user Triin Q

Concord Associates, a limited partnership owned by Louis R. Cappelli and formed to redevelop the former Concord Hotel in the Town of Thompson, N.Y., has announced plans to establish a new joint venture with an affiliate of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority for the development of the Concord Resort. The joint venture, Concord Kiamesha Holdings L.L.C., would develop the first phase of the upscale gaming and racing resort at a cost of more than $600 million.

The Concord Resort, which will sit on a 116-acre site in the Catskills region, boasts a design by Marnell Architecture, whose parent entity, Marnell Cos., will be a partner with Concord Associates in the development. Phase 1 of the project will feature a 75,000 square-foot casino, as well as a 258-room hotel. The property will also encompass a harness racing facility with a grandstand, 10,000 square feet of meeting space, five restaurants, retail offerings and entertainment spaces. The resort will be operated by MTGA under the Mohegan Sun brand, and if all goes as planned, Concord anticipates a debut in spring 2013.

The project has been in the making for more than a decade. Concord Associates revealed a $500 million redevelopment plan for the aging hotel in 2000. As it stands today, the developer has shelled out in excess of $100 million on related activities including site preparation, demolition and remediation of environmental issues. Concord Kiamesha Holdings has tapped investment banking firm Jefferies & Company Inc. to serve as financial advisor for the endeavor.

Numerous supporters are passionately backing plans for the Concord Resort, among them, State Senator John J. Bonacic of Sullivan County. He noted in a prepared statement that he is “very enthusiastic about this project and am 100 percent in support of this tremendous economic development opportunity.” According to Concord Associates, development of the resort will yield over 1,000 temporary construction jobs and permanent positions. Locals are also hoping that the project will spur the renaissance of the Catskills as a leading resort destination.

“This is an area that has suffered economically,” Jacob Oberman, director of gaming research and analysis with commercial real estate services firm CB Richard Ellis’ Global Gaming Group, told CPE. “Clearly there are other neighboring tourist alternatives like Atlantic City, slots and table games properties in Pennsylvania and slots gaming throughout New York.” And Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. and MTGA’s Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. are also within reasonable reach. MTGA’s ownership of a gaming facility in the area will likely prove fruitful for the joint venture. “The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority has a good penetration of Upstate New York and Connecticut,” Oberman said. “They know this market very well.”

The joint venture still has quite a few hoops to jump through before it can make the Concord Resort a reality. A gaming industry expert told CPE, “The approvals process is lengthy and by no means guaranteed.”