Concord project nears groundbreaking
By Eli Ruiz
THOMPSON January 18 The proposed $600 million development on the grounds of the former Concord Resort received Town of Thompson Board approvals Tuesday.
The massive project’s Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP), SEQRA findings and the Planned Resort Development Text Amendments for the 1,583-acre site all passed muster.
The approvals give Entertainment Properties Trust (EPT) and Empire Resorts the green light to move forward with submission of individual site plan applications related to the build-out of the proposed resort.
The packed 7:30 pm. meeting included such interested parties as Sullivan County Legislator and IDA Board Chair Ira Steingart, Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development/IDA CEO Allan Scott and Partnership Board Chairman Fred Stabbert III.
“Before we commence I’d just like to say that both professional teams from EPT, Empire and the Town of Thompson team have worked until 15 minutes ago to get these text amendments correct on behalf of both sides,” said Town of Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini.
The plans for the world-class four season destination resort call for an indoor water park, 18-hole golf course, hotels, an RV park and an entertainment village with a movie theater and retail space. The centerpiece of the proposal would be a casino resort which would include the moving of Monticello Raceway’s harness racing entity to the proposed new resort grounds in the Town of Thompson.
A residential village will also figure into the plan, with said village slated to include a diverse mix of unit types including condos, apartments, townhouses and detached single family homes, a civic center and an active adult residential community. The initial casino phase is tabbed to begin in the spring.
The extensive renovations to the old Monster Golf Course will be handled by world-renowned course designer Rees Jones also known as “The US Open Doctor.” Aside from the actual golf course, the plans also call for a clubhouse, maintenance building and what are being called “golf cottages.”
The entertainment village phase includes a movie theater, an event field and approximately 115,000 square feet of dedicated retail space.
The proposed build-out is expected to create an estimated 1,000 full-time equivalent jobs at the site. The initial phase alone is expected to have an economic impact on the local [Town of Thompson/Village of Monticello area] economy of about $290 million annually.
For Sullivan County as a whole, the total annual economic activity is estimated - as a result of the initial phase of operations in the $395 million range.
Completion of the initial phases will then usher in subsequent build-out phases that are expected to result in a planned residential village, plus hospitality, commercial,residential and recreational phases that will utilize the “natural beauty” of the massive parcel.
“We’ve gone through the whole findings statement, as well as every other document that’s before the board today and we’re very satisfied that it is pretty comprehensive in scope,” said Town of Thompson attorney Michael Mednick in voicing his approval of the plan Tuesday.
Project executive Tim Lies addressed the large crowd, and said, “I’m really here just to thank the board for their effort… we’ve assembled a dream team and we think your team was likewise, up for the task.
Cellini would later mention some 14 letters of approval regarding the Concord project from the likes of Robert Green Chevrolet, Bold Gold Media Group, Rolling V Bus Corporation, the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and more. A letter of support was even received from the Pike County Chamber of Commerce in PA.
Cellini also mentioned a few letters of concern from Peter Wise Esq. representing Concord Associates, LLP and another, citing traffic concerns from Adler Consultants.
Nicole Emmons, architect and senior associate with Hart Howerton the master planners for the EPR Concord Resort project spoke in depth about the plan Tuesday, and assured those in attendance that, “Our goal is to preserve and enhance the natural beauty, features and characteristics of the site.”
Seemingly very optimistic about the project which will encompass his particular district, Legislator Steingart would say, “I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank the town board for the way they’ve handled this project. After being on the planning board for 20-years I’ve realized what a daunting process SEQR is and you [the Town of Thompson board] have set a benchmark for the rest of Sullivan County on how the job can be handled and sealed the reputation of Sullivan County as economically friendly for developers to come here… you set an example for the rest of the county.”