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With 2016 fast coming to an end, it is quite evident that 2016 will be remembered as the year Sullivan County’s economic resurgence began. With our signature project, the $1.3 billion Montreign Resort Destination Casino, making extraordinary progress toward its opening date it is quite evident that the intent of Proposition 1 just a few years ago in the fall of 2013 is coming to fruition. A considerable delay took place after the official passage of the measure while the rules and regulations regarding the legislation were drafted, and finally led ultimately to the official granting of the license. And in just one year the decision is having a positive impact on the Sullivan County economy and many firms from throughout the Hudson Valley region. A recent topping off ceremony, indicating a milestone where the last major piece of steel framing for the facility under construction is set in place, speaks to the professionalism and pace at which construction firms are moving along. Now when traveling along I -86/ NYS 17 the building stretches into the skyline in a way foretelling of an activity filled, bustling 5 diamond destination for those seeking an entertainment getaway and the thousands of direct and indirect employees needed to support this extraordinary operation. And with the Entertainment Village, Reese Jones™ upgraded golf course and indoor hotel Water Park soon to follow, Adelaar will be a hub of tremendous activity, employment and commerce at the heart of Sullivan County.
The 131-room, $90 million dollar Veria Lifestyle Wellness Center is also being constructed at an extraordinary pace with a soft opening expected a year from now in 2017. In just one year an environment of investor confidence, both externally and organically has taken over Sullivan County. The general attitude in the county has gone from one of malaise to one of optimism for what the future will bring. This is evident in the ‘bricks and mortar’ investment taking place throughout the county. From the Western Hotel in Callicoon to the refreshed look of Jefferson Street in the Village of Monticello, from the new Jeff Bank and Catskill Urgent Care Center in Kiameshia, to the Metcar manufacturing facility in Glenwild, investment is proliferating throughout the county and poised to take off in 2017. A recent Sullivan County real estate report indicated home sales are again on the move with median sales prices increasing. Sales tax collections are up significantly. Unemployment is down 1% year to year and holding.
So what is in store for the future? Based on the behind the scenes activity being completed by engineers, land use attorneys and other development professionals there will be a significant uptick in development in 2017. Proposals for mid-market hotels, craft micro distilleries, agribusiness, distribution and metal fabrication are just a few among many that are in the project pipeline. And once Montreign is close to opening the expectation is that investment will have already accelerated dramatically. Meanwhile planning and economic development officials are conducting research and hiring professional firms to help best prepare for expected growth and future opportunities. A corridor analysis and development plan is under way for East Broadway in Monticello from the east end of the Village to exit 107 in Bridgeville. This effort being led by the Sullivan County division of Planning will look to manage the type and quality of investment that will be taking place in the corridor to represent the best fit in terms of size, aesthetics, resources and other factors ultimately producing development that fosters higher caliber investment opportunities in that area. An effort to attract diverse investment along the Old Route 17 corridor geared to businesses requiring easy access to the highway among other factors is also underway. Located between Sullivan County’s two largest urban centers the area is ripe for small manufacturing, distribution and specialty fabrication industries seeking to operate in low cost environment relative to areas closer to New York City yet have easy access to the metro are market for end product.
With activity taking place across many sectors of our economy and investment projected to continue at least in the immediate future 2016 ends with a bullish outlook into the future and as the year that our turnaround began.