By William J. Kemble, firstname.lastname@example.org
KERHONKSON >> Building a new hotel at the site of the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa is predicated on approval of a casino license, a resort official says.
General partner Eliot Spitzer (not the former New York governor) described the proposed 130,000-square-foot hotel and conference center — which would be called the Granit at Hudson Valley Resort, a nod to the operation’s former Granit name — as “Plan A” and said it would include 60,000 square feet for casino gambling.
“We do have a Plan B that’s not predicated on a casino, but at the moment, the plan we have set forth is with the intention for the casino,” Spitzer said.
“We did line up a developer and a gaming company to do a project at the site, but until an RFP (state request for proposals) comes out, were not going to make any officials comment about that,” he said. “They’re coming out with the RFP in March. They’re expecting the applications to be filed at the end of June. Then they’re expecting to make decisions in September.”
The creation of casinos on non-Indian land in three regions of the state — the Hudson Valley/Castkills, Albany-Saratoga and the Southern Tier — was approved by New York voters in November and has the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The New York Gaming Commission’s newly created five-member Casino Selection Board which will select four casino sites.
Local officials have said the Catskills area is expected to be awarded two casino licenses, the competition for which already is stiff between the owner of the former Nevele hotel in Ulster County and the owners of several sites in Sullivan County. And just last week, a proposal surfaced for a casino to be built between Route 17 and the Thruway in the Orange County village of Woodbury.
The Granit plan calls for replacing the current eight-story, 323-room story Hudson Valley Resort and Spa with a five-story, 450-room hotel. An application for the project was filed last week with the town of Rochester Planning Board.
“In order to get the application approved, we had to file it by now,” Spitzer said. “It’s a little bit putting the cart before the horse, but in order to have this project shovel-ready ... that’s why we filed the plans right now.”
If the project is approved and the casino license is granted, the new hotel would be built while the current resort remains in operation, Spitzer said. He said construction “should take 18 months.”
Spitzer said construction would cost about $200 million and that the business’ current staffing level of about 160 could surge to 1,500.
“We’re definitely going to improve the golf course,” he said. “We’re definitely going to have a new spa, some nice new restaurants, bars, conference center. It’s a lot of similar amenities to what we have today, but obviously, with new construction and new building, it’s going to be something that’s very high quality.”
Hudson Valley Resort General Manager Orest Fedash said the Granit project could include townhouses, but Spitzer said the focus now is on building a new hotel and opening a casino on the 560-acre property, which is on Granite Road between Route 209 and Route 44/55.
The town of Rochester Planning Board is expected to review the Granit proposal next Monday.
The Hudson Valley Resort and Spa came out of bankruptcy proceedings late last year with court approval to reduce $25.9 million in debt to about $10 million, Spitzer said.
The proposal for a casino at the former Nevele, which is in the Ulster County town of Wawarsing, will be the subject of an event at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Ellenville Regional Hospital.
The purpose of the event is to “show support for the Nevele gaming application” and “Governor Cuomo’s vision of gaming in the Catskills,” according to Ulster County Executive Michael Hein’s office.
The event is to be attended by Hein, Nevele owner Michael Treanor, Ellenville Regional Hospital President Steven Kelley, Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce President Ward Todd and Rondout Valley Business Association President Richard Travers.
Source: Daily Freeman News