THOMPSON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – After years of false starts and broken promises, a casino resort is finally rising in the Catskills, 90 miles from Midtown.
It was approved by voters in 2013 and opens for business in exactly 200 days.
CBS2’s Tony Aiello took an exclusive tour inside the $1.4 billion project.
On Route 17 in Sullivan County, right off Exit 106, a two mile drive through a forest takes you to the site of the development that many in the economically struggling region thought they would never see.
“Every week I go down there just – I’m so amazed that finally it’s happening,” Nela Vrancich, of Monticello, told Aiello.
CBS2 was the first TV station to go inside the new Resorts World Catskills casino. That massive space will hold 2,000 slot machines and 130 dealer table games.
“It’s first and foremost an integrated resort,” said tour guide and company Vice President Charlie Degliomini.
For two years on the property that once belonged to the old Concord Resort, 600 workers have labored six days a week, building an 18 story hotel atop a 100,000 square foot casino.
The facility features something very unusual for a casino, Aiello noted.
“That’s correct, and it’s windows,” Degliomini said. “You just don’t see windows in casinos. You’re literately looking into the natural environment.”
The views from the penthouse floor are even more impressive, Aiello reported. There’s never been a building so tall in Sullivan County, so they are views no one has ever had.
“It’s a first,” Degliomini said.
By the entrance, there’s a massive fountain taking shape. Inside, under a huge skylight, are two indoor pools and special suites for high rollers.
“These are rooms that have balconies on that side and private plunge pools here,” Degliomini said.
Steps from the casino floor is a 27,000 square foot event center. Resorts World is also rebuilding the Concord Monster Golf Course and creating a huge indoor water park.
Staffing it all will require 2,200 new employees.
“These are great positions, fully loaded benefits,” Degliomini said.
In addition to all those jobs, the casino resort will bring tax revenue for New York State – an estimated $90 million in its first full year of operation.
The doors open March 1.