Friday, April 22, 2011

Phil Brown: Is Tupper Lake Resort Realistic?

Tupper Lake is hurting. Logging no longer employs as many people as it once did. The Oval Wood Dish factory closed years ago. Young people leave because they can’t find work. Over the past decade, the community lost 7 percent of its population.

Enter the developers behind the proposed Adirondack Club and Resort. They want to build a year-round resort with 650 residential units in the vicinity of the Big Tupper Ski Area. They also plan to refurbish and reopen the beloved ski area.

The developers predict that the resort will create more than three hundred jobs during the construction phase, giving a huge boost to the local economy. They also say local governments and the school district will reap hundreds of thousands dollars each year in property taxes.

“I don’t know what else is out there that could even begin to bring the magnitude of benefit that this project is going to bring,” says Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, who represents Tupper Lake.

It’s easy to see why, given a choice between continued decline and hope, Tupper Lakers choose hope and want to see the project approved by the Adirondack Park Agency. But is the resort’s business plan plausible?

To finance the project, the developers hope to sell forty to fifty luxury properties a year—some vacant parcels, some parcels with homes—at prices ranging from $100,000 to $5 million.

Reporter Brian Mann recently interviewed a number of real-estate agents and found that nearly all of them—including some who have voiced support for the project—doubt that the developers will be able to sell that many properties or fetch those kinds of prices. As one agent put it, “even in Lake Placid, that number of sales would be far-fetched.”

Tupper Lake is not Lake Placid. But could it be? Michael Foxman, the resort’s lead developer, seems to think so. He contends that his resort will transform Tupper Lake into a premier destination.

“Sometimes it takes an outsider to see a local opportunity,” he told Mann. “With luck, we all will get a chance to see if this is one of those times. We think all the ingredients for an outstanding resort are there.”

Mann’s is the most in-depth article about the project’s financing that I have seen. It will appear in the May/June issue of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine, but you can click here to read it now.

Photo by Susan Bibeau: Tupper Lake’s downtown.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.


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Phil Brown is the former Editor of Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues, the same topics he writes about here at Adirondack Almanack. Phil is also an energetic outdoorsman whose job and personal interests often find him hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, trail running, and backcountry skiing. He is the author of Adirondack Paddling: 60 Great Flatwater Adventures, which he co-published with the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the editor of Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks, an anthology of Marshall’s writings.Visit Lost Pond Press for more information.

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