Concord Resort Hotel

The Concord Resort Hotel (pronounced KAHN-cord) was a resort in the Borscht Belt of the Catskills, known for its large resort industry in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Located in Kiamesha Lake, New York, the Concord was the largest resort in the region and was also one of the last to finally close in 1998, long after the others closed. (A primary competitor, Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel, closed in 1986.)[1] At the Concorde, there were over 1,500 guest rooms and a dining room that sat 3,000; the resort encompassed some 2,000 acres (8.1 km2).[2] Although the resort was a kosher establishment, catering primarily to Jewish vacationers from the New York City area, it was more lavish in decor and activities than comparable large Catskill resorts.

A small establishment near Kiamesha Lake called the Ideal House existed during the 1920s and 1930s. Arthur Winarick acquired the property after a default and rebuilt it in 1937 as the 500-bed Concord Plaza. Keeping up with Grossinger's following World War II, the then-renamed New Concord Hotel rapidly expanded and added amenities to match Grossinger's ski slope and golf course. The Tropical Indoor Pool opened in 1951, accelerating the race. Expansion continued in the 1950s, when prominent hotel architect Morris Lapidus was hired to design new modern style guest wings. At the Concord Lapidus worked with architect-interior designer Theordor Muller on interiors for lobbies, dining spaces and night clubs. A rotunda and promenade, as well as the huge Cordillion Room, Night Owl Lounge and the even bigger Imperial Room night club were added. Lapidus employed his signature floating stair design in the rotunda to give guests an opportunity to make a grand entrance.[3]

The Concord was known for its impressive entertainment venues. The original Cordillion Room opened in the 1950s with 1500 seats, along with the Constellation Room with its distinctive undulating bar. Winarick felt that more was needed, and the Lapidus-designed Imperial Room seated three thousand in a nearly circular space, perhaps the largest in the Catskills, and a popular venue for major entertainers.[3]

Guest quarters in the tower sections were regarded as impersonal. Up to ten story guest wings replaced the original hotel in the 1950s. A Lapidus-designed 1959 wing featured 210 rooms with projecting bay windows and his-and-her bathrooms, each with a dressing area.[3]

Following the construction of an elaborate indoor pool at Grossinger's, the original Concord pool was replaced by the Lapidus-design Bubble, which doubled as a solarium, as well as a large spa.[3]

The Concord attracted major entertainers who could fill the Imperial Room to standing room-only. Buddy Hackett was a frequently featured performer, as were Tony Bennett, Milton Berle and Tony Martin. Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland also played the Concord. Martin Luther King Jr. received an award at the Concord in 1963. Following Arthur Winarick's death in 1964 the resort was managed by son-in-law Ray Parker.[3]

Secondary Concord lobby between the main building and building "D"in 1977

A news report states that in 1997, the business filed for bankruptcy leaving a debt of over $8 million in back taxes to Sullivan County. In 1999, the property sold "for $10.5 million to a partnership led by Joe Murphy with Louis R. Cappelli as a silent partner".[4]

In 2000, a news report stated that there was a plan to build a $500 million resort.[5] As of 2009, the Concord Resort & Golf Club was in operation; it was billed as the home of the famous "Monster" Golf Course.[6]

Then owners Robert and Linda Parker (identified in photo), with a large group at the Concord Hotel (1977)

There are currently 42 guest rooms and the website indicate that more rooms will be built as well as amenities not related to the golf course (i.e. swimming pool, tennis courts, etc.) The "Monster Golf Academy" is under the direction of PGA Professional Todd Barker. The former hotel portion, though, was demolished[7] in 2008 and the site remains vacant.

The Concord was used several times over the years by the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs for their annual convention and trade show.

In 2010, financial disputes between the owners led to a legal settlement, splitting property between the parties. REIT won 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) of the Concord site from developer Louis R. Cappelli, who retained control of 116 acres (0.47 km2).[8] Monticello Raceway owner Empire Resorts announced plans to explore development of a racino resort on the property in partnership with Entertainment Properties.[9]

On May 5, 2011, the owners of the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Connecticut announced a competing joint venture with Cappelli Enterprises Inc. to build a $600 million racino on the site of the former hotel. According to the statement, the new resort will include a 258-room hotel, 75,000-square-foot (7,000 m2) casino with 2,100 video lottery terminals, five restaurants, a harness racing facility and grandstand, and a simulcast facility for pari-mutuel wagering.[8][10][11] In May 2017. it was announced the casino-resort, run by Empire Resorts would be called "Resorts World Catskills", and planned to open in 2018.[12]

In February 2018, Resorts World Catskills opened. The property can be seen as a filming location for the Showtime Billions (TV series).[13][14]

View looking up old main driveway with the demolished hotel in the background, June 2010.