So as I am sure everybody already knows, the vote to allow gambling in New York State was passed this week giving way to a flurry of exuberance around our county. The word is that we are slated to get at least one, and possibly two full fledged Vegas style casinos here in Sullivan County. I’ll spare the details, because I am sure unless you have crawled out from under a rock and went directly to my blog, you probably already know at least the basics.
I voted yes for the casino bill. Like many Sullivan County residents, I think it will be good for our area, and it will pump some much needed life into our economy. It will bring people, jobs, money and tax breaks–all good things for our area.
I must admit though there was a small part of me that wanted it not to pass. I have been working with a buyer for the past few months, who is looking for large parcels of land here in Sullivan County. He was not interested our gambling saga, or was even aware of it for that matter. He wants a few large pieces of land to use for him and a large extended family and friends–preferably something with water.
Well we found two pieces he liked. One he really liked and put in an offer. After a bit of back and forth it was accepted. This was back in August. A few weeks later he put in a second offer on the other piece. The seller of the second piece rejected the offer. The reason? His piece is twelve miles from the Concord site. Gambling may be coming. There’s gold in them there hills.
My buyer signed the contract on the first piece, and sent it back to the attorney. Where they sat and sat. Finally after a few nasty grams, we got a response. The seller no longer wished to sell at that price. The reason? His piece is TWENTY-SIX miles from the Concord site. There’s gold in everyone’s hills.
I am pretty sure had the casino deal been struck down, both these sellers would have been knocking on our door the next day. However–now property owners are going to be going to bed with visions of dollar signs dancing in their heads.
Driving up to Foxwoods this summer I was struck by the way there is nothing but woods and farmland, until you come around the bend, and this giant hotel is sticking out of the mountainside. I know that is an Indian owned casino, and a different set of circumstances, but sixteen years of that casino being there, and no giant strip malls or developments have sprung up twenty plus miles from the hotel. In fact nothing seems to have sprung up.
And further west, I am not real sure how much Mohegan Sun has helped build up Uncasville. That seems to remain a pretty quiet small town, without a whole lot to it.
“Early summer” is when we will know the sites of the first four casinos, according to Bonacic. Two are slated for the Catskill region. Ulster County is vying almost as hard for one in their county, so it would be safe to assume that we will have one casino in Sullivan County. We will know in six months where it will be, and then it will probably open sometime late 2016. Again conventional wisdom is saying the Concord site, but we are talking about some big numbers here, and there will be some back room dealings and all sorts of shenanigans going on before this thing shakes itself out.
So what will this do for our real estate market? I think for the short term it may slow it down. A brisk market can only occur when both buyer and seller feel they are getting a good deal. Now we have sellers wondering if they have already hit a jackpot.
We will see how it plays out over the next few years. However I don’t think that there is any denying that long term a casino here in Sullivan County will help our area. How much remains to be seen.