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ALBANY-A $1-billion development plan at the Concord Hotel property in the Town of Thompson, NY by Empire Resorts Inc. and Concord Associates LP–a partnership led by Valhalla, NY-developer Louis Cappelli–is now on track after Gov. David Paterson and state legislative leaders agreed on a tax rate revenue modification for the racino–combined racetrack and casino–at Monticello Raceway.

The bill that was approved by the State Senate on Monday and was expected to pass the Assembly today reduces the tax rate on Video Lottery Terminals at the racino at Monticello Raceway from as high as 68% to 25%. In consideration of that reduction, the gaming facility, now located at Monticello Gaming and Raceway, will contribute at least $38 million a year for state education. In Fiscal Year 2007/2008, which ended in March 2008, Monticello Gaming & Raceway contributed more than $31.5 million to state education or 50% to 60% of its more than $62 million in net winnings, according to a report filed with the New York State Lottery Commission. The racino at Monticello Raceway operates more than 1,500 Video Lottery Terminals. The facility at Monticello has been hurt by casinos in Pennsylvania and Connecticut as well as the racino that has opened at Yonkers Raceway. That facility, which operates more than 5,300 VLTs, posted net winnings of nearly $432 million in Fiscal Year 2007/2008 and contributed $253 million to state education–based on net winnings of $431.7 million–according to papers filed with the New York State Lottery Commission.

The revised plan for the Concord property calls for the development of 1.5-million sf of hotel/convention space, 600,000 sf of retail, a several hundred room hotel/spa and perhaps as many as 3,000 housing units. The project will include resort type uses that will transform the site into a year-round resort. The project site will also include a racino, which is currently located at the Monticello Raceway site a few miles away that will be relocated to the Concord property. The racetrack operations at Monticello Raceway will also be moved to the Concord site and at least one 18-hole golf course will be redeveloped. The legislation calls for the project to be complete by Jan. 31, 2011. The Empire Resorts, Concord Associates LP partnership has already begun demolition work at the famed Concord Hotel site.

“There was a time when the Catskills were the pre-eminent vacation destination on the entire East Coast. The beauty and majesty of the region has not changed, and this deal will help return the Catskills to their former glory, a destination spot,” says Gov. Paterson. “This agreement is a big win for Monticello, Sullivan County, and all of New York State. Government and the private sector have worked together to structure a deal that will at least double the amount of money for education that the State expected to generate from the Monticello Racetrack and to create 2,000 permanent new jobs.”

Cappelli, lead partner in Concord Associates and a major shareholder in Empire Resorts, says, “this legislation clears the way for the first major economic development initiative in the Catskills in decades. We will begin almost immediately with the transformation of the old Concord Hotel into a world-class gaming resort destination that will employ 2,000 people, generate tens of millions of dollars in education funding for the state, and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity throughout the region.”

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