2014 could be a very good year for Sullivan County. While final sales figures aren't in yet, it looks like the real estate sales volume for 2013 will run about 15-20% ahead of 2013, and demand doesn't slow any sign of slacking. Continuing tight inventory in popular categories will likely result in modest price increases through 2014.
This year we could see 3 or 4 big projects launch that could transform the image of Sullivan County. Of course, the big kahuna is a casino. While a decision on which counties and which sites get a casino nod from the state won't likely be made until the 4th quarter, it's widely assumed that Sullivan will get one of the two Catskill licenses.
A few other projects have a lower profile, but also a large impact. Veria Lifestyle's redevelopment of the old Kutsher's Resort into a health and lifestyle resort is moving ahead, and could act as an anchor for the revitalization of a part of the county that has been been in decline.
Double Diamond at Lost Lake, the 2,000 acre master planned golf community in Forestburgh, is finally ready to start sales. Up to 2,600 homes are planned at full build out, plus a hotel, restaurants and spa. Lost Lake is clearly marketed at middle class home owners, unlike new developments of the past decade, like the Chapin Estate, that targeted wealthier buyers. Lost Lake could cement Sullivan's position as a fun, middle income second home destination.
There's a good possibility that the back side of Lake Joseph will also be opened for development this year. The property was bought by Republic Lake Joseph LLC in the early 2000's, and subdivision plans drawn up. When the recession hit, plans to bring the property to market were put on hold. Now, with the market improving, those plans could be put on the front burner.
All of these projects together add up to a very interesting new "development corridor" in Sullivan County along Route 42 — the Kutsher's/Veria project to the north (between Route 42 and Route 17), a casino resort at the Concord site off of Route 42 at Kiamesha Lake, the Monticello Motor Club (the already built private speedway south of Monticello), then Lake Joseph and finally, Double Diamond at Lost Lake.
Development along that Route 42 corridor doesn't have a lot of impact on the other, more rural or 'wild' parts of Sullivan, like the farmland areas and Delaware River to the west or the Catskill Park and fishing areas to the north. Personally, I think it complements the county's other assets very well.
A lifestyle resort, a casino resort and a golf resort plus Bethel Woods can add up to that elusive "tipping point" that can attract other development. If all of this comes together, don't be surprised if some other interesting projects follow.
Indeed, 2014 could be a very, very good year for Sullivan.