Sullivan County, NY - Mysterious Foreign Millionaire Buys Nevele Grande Hotel
Sullivan County, NY - The public auctioning of the Nevele Grande hotel was canceled Tuesday after a wealthy man reportedly signed a contract to purchase the classic resort and its roughly 500 acres.
The mysterious purchaser is not from the United States — and he’s wealthy enough to buy and refurbish the property into a four- or five-star resort without depending on a bank loan, said Marvin Neuman, CEO of the Long Island auction company that was hired to sell the Nevele.
For now, that’s where details end in the latest Borscht-belt hotel saga.
Neuman refused to identify the owner or say how much he’s agreed to pay. The starting bid was supposed to be $15.5 million. When asked why he could not identify the soon-to-be owner of one of the Catskills’ most famed hotels, Neuman said he feared the buyer would be scared off by skeptics and the “nasty” people who have left comments on online message boards.
“He has a gentle demeanor and I’m not going to risk these people not welcoming him,” Neuman said, adding that the man’s identity would likely be revealed after the current owner, Long Island investor Joel Hoffman, pays the roughly $1.5 million in back taxes, wages and state penalties that he owes.
Ulster County filed a lawsuit this week in state Supreme Court to make sure Hoffman pays nearly $291,000 in various back taxes. County Executive Mike Hein said Hoffman had an obligation to create jobs and make tax payments under an agreement with the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency, but he did neither.
Still, the atmosphere at the Nevele Grande was celebratory on Tuesday, as Neuman touted his success and gushed over the old hotel.
“You wanna see the Presidential Suite?” he asked his family and guests.
They agreed. The trip to the ninth floor revealed what lies ahead for the mystery buyer.
Musty staircases and rooms, big and small, with odd smells wafting out of them. It’s a structure that seems solid but has obvious blemishes, such as wallpaper falling down in some places, ceiling tiles that are gone, and carpets that are stained from floods.
Guests can see the entire grounds from the ninth-floor suite, including the golf course that has grown nearly into a hay field, the pool that’s filled with greenish water, and an array of buildings that were modern 50 years ago. Neuman clearly believes it can be turned around.
“I don’t care what anybody says — this is not disrepair,” Neuman insists. “I don’t see any problems that can’t be rectified with some fun glamour.”
While complimenting the old hotel, Neuman scolded locals for being skeptical while he tried to sell the Nevele and “put Ellenville back in the spotlight.”
But after watching people with big wallets and big dreams fail at other Catskill hotels, locals say they have good reason to be weary of a mysterious “savior.”
“We’ve heard this before,” said Yanki Prager, a property owner in Ellenville. “I think people come to the mountains here and get a little too excited.”
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