It came somewhat as a surprise last week that Westchester developer Louis Cappelli, who already owns the shuttered Concord and Grossinger’s resort, entered into a deal to add Kutsher’s to his stable to once-glamorous Catskills nameplates. The Times Herald Record reported (click here for article) that Cappelli has agreed to pay $35 million for the 400 room resort and golf course. The deal is more of an option — he’s paid $2.5 million for the right to buy the hotel within a year.
Cappelli’s interest in picking up Kutsher’s is very interesting, following closely on the heels of his deal to move the Monticello Raceway and Racino from its current site in Monticello to the Concord property. Personally, I think he’s placing a big, and very possibly winning, bet on casinos. The biggest stumbling block to the St. Regis Mohawks plans for a casino at the Monticello Raceway was the denial by the current Sec. of the Interior to permit an off-reservation casino so far from the tribe’s location. But in less than a year, we’re very likely to have a Democratic administration in Washington, with a new secretary of interior. The Democrats have generally not been against off-reservation casinos. A lot of folks here said that casinos were dead after the Secy of Interior denial, but I personally think they’re just on hold, waiting for the winds to change in DC. By essentially buying a one year option on Kutsher’s, Cappelli doesn’t have to make a big commitment and put up the big bucks until he sees if, in fact, the administration changes.