Group invests $7.1M in former Catskill motel

Carl's Rip Van Winkle Motor Lodge could get a makeover under a proposed plan. Sarah Trafton/Columbia-Greene Media

CATSKILL — A local motel is being reimagined as a year-round resort by a group of investors.

Carl’s Rip Van Winkle Motor Lodge and its adjacent restaurant were sold to Camptown LLC in February for $1.1 million.

The motel and restaurant will be rehabilitated and winterized to become a year-round destination called Camptown, Greene County Industrial Development Agency Executive Director Rene VanSchaack said.

The project is estimated to be a $7.1 million investment and will be managed by Rivertown Lodge in Hudson.

“We’re encouraged by this,” VanSchaack said. “As a result of COVID, people are dramatically switching up their normal vacation plans. People who would normally get on a plane and fly to a large destination like Orlando or Myrtle Beach are rediscovering the Catskills.”

Camptown is one of several motel revitalization projects in the area, VanSchaack said, including the Astoria Motor Court and Indian Ridge Campground.

The IDA granted the investors a $58,125 mortgage-tax exemption, a $320,000 sales-tax exemption and a 16-year Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT, valued at $48,000.

“There is an overwhelming positive cost-benefit analysis that is greater than the exemption we gave them,” VanSchaack said.

The estimated benefit from the project is $4.8 million.

The investors include Sam Korris, co-founder of Alchemy Ventures; Brendin McDermott, senior director of Finance & Strategy at Sotheby’s; Stephen Wendell, CEO of Mountain Shore Properties; and Ryan Reich of Mountain Shore Properties and RSW Investments.

The group hired Taconic Engineering for the project. The firm presented plans to the Catskill Town Planning Board in July.

The plans include adding 10 units to the motel, adding a greenhouse, additions to 19 cabins and creating a parking lot.

Contractors will also have to connect to the municipal sewer and water system and add sidewalks and ramps to the main hotel, according to meeting minutes.

The plan comes on the heels of a larger project in which the new owners of Friar Tuck Inn plan to invest $60 million to $120 million in the property to create the Mindfulness Resort, which will feature about 400 hotel rooms and amenities such as fishing, hunting, canoeing, horseback riding, ice skating and possibly a water park, Savarino Companies Director of Business Development and Finance Thomas Zawadski said.

Plans to build a new hotel at the former Quality Inn near Exit 21 of the New York State Thruway in Catskill were hampered by the pandemic, VanSchaack said.

The proposed hotel was expected to be about 85 to 100 rooms in size.

Many hotel developers won’t be doing projects for the next three to five years, VanSchaack said.

“I know of one developer that has eight different hotels completely on hold,” he said.

The future of the Quality Inn site is up in the air, VanSchaack said.

“Whether we decide to wait for a hotel or market or something else remains to be seen,” he said.

Green Suites Resort, a four-story hotel at the Catskill Golf Course approved last summer by the town planning board, came before town planners July 14 for an extension on its special-use permit.

The hotel will contain 48 suites for golfers and other visitors.

Development on another proposed hotel, Mr. Cat, at the corner of Main and Bridge streets in Catskill, has been slowed, Village President Vincent Seeley said.

“I have spoken with the owner [Ben Fain] and he assured me that the project is still in flight, but has slowed due to COVID,” Seeley said in August. “The goal is a late 2021 opening.”

The former Catskill Game Farm, which opened the Long Neck Inn last fall, was listed on the market this spring for just under $2 million.

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(4) comments

Upstate Realtor

This is a great article about the area and the future of the changing landscape.The new owner of Indian Ridge - now Treetopia - is making a lot of changes and has new many more new ideas coming. These new ventures bring a lot of new visitors to the area - some wanting to make it their home. New jobs come with these ventures and it is a win-win for all. Local stores and businesses see increases in their revenue too with the new visitors. I only wish you had mentioned Think Big! The Tiny House Resort in Cairo - as they have made a big impact on the area as well. Greene County is such a lovely area and we all remain hopeful that the many changes taking place will only continue to enhance it. In full disclosure, I was the realtor that listed and sold Indian Ridge and the land for the Tiny House Resort properties. Thank you for the story.


Great project, but tourism isn't new money. Greene County lacks tech and new money businesses. And, Vincent Seeley is not the President of the Village of Catskill.


Bravo and welcome to another chapter in the hospitality history of the region. Isn’t this so much nicer to envision than the embarrassing, wasteful, and inhumane jail project foisted on County taxpayers?


Yes, much more sane than the 20% 30 year tax in rease for a jail that was never adequately justified. Better than wasting 80 Bridge St., for a none-income Producing park g lot.

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