Mulvihill breaks ground on $70-million Grand Cascades Lodge

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:58

Hardyston - The $70-million Grand Cascades Lodge condominium hotel moved a step closer to becoming a reality when developer Andrew Mulvihill and a group of approximately 200 local and state dignitaries and private citizens celebrated the official groundbreaking at a ceremony on Sunday afternoon. “With this development, we will take Crystal Springs to a new level, This will be Sussex County’s largest, most luxurious hotel property ever,” Mulvihill said. Representing Hardyston were Mayor Kenneth Kievit, Deputy Mayor Leslie Hamilton, Councilmen William Lasinski and James Armstrong, and Township Manager Marianne Smith. “This hotel presents a great opportunity for the town to help its residents and to help a developer,” said Kievit. “The tax revenues the hotel is likely to generate will help bring the tax rate down. What’s more, the hotel residents will help local businesses by shopping there, and the hotel itself as well as the business it brings in will help produce jobs.” Echoing a similar sentiment, Freeholder Gary Chiusano said, “It’s encouraging to see cooperation between developers, Hardyston and the county. This is an excellent example of government and private business working together.” Smith observed that because the project will be phased in over time, the total tax revenue would not all come at once. Nevertheless, she said, it will be a positive project for Hardyston and Sussex County on numerous levels. Smith said if the value of the finished project matches the $70 million quoted by the developer, at current tax rates it would generate $430,500 in county taxes, $23,100 in open-space taxes, $863,800 in local school taxes, $482,300 in regional high school taxes, and $465,500 in municipal taxes. According to Smith, good fortune has played a strong role in the success of the development of Crystal Springs, which first was approved in the 1980s. The developer’s commitment to invest in the project and bring it out of bankruptcy was vital. “People who buy second homes or retirement homes or condominiums in Crystal Springs minimize the impact on municipal services growth normally creates,” Smith said. “The new revenue helps us pay for increases in costs without taxing the residents more. We can spread the costs of running the township over a greater number of taxpayers. Before a single shovel broke ground, over 80 percent of the hotel’s suites 112 had been sold, said Michelle Abate, director of marketing for Crystal Springs Builders. “These suites are fully furnished and have a completely equipped kitchen. Just put the key in the door, and you’ll be at home,” she said. “The suites range in cost from a little under $300,000 to a little more than $800,000. We’ve already sold all the studios, but some two- and three-bedroom suites remain. The larger units will be around 2,000 square feet in size. Many people are buying these units as investments, but others are snowbirds, and like to live in Florida during the winter months.” Although the Grand Cascades condominiums will not include a restaurant, residents will be able to dine at the Restaurant Latour, whose name is derived from the 45 vintages of Chateau Latour Bordeaux red wines it features. The restaurant presents a French-inspired menu that the June 12 edition of the New York Times rated “excellent.” For more casual dining, Crystal Tavern also will offer regional American cooking. Mulvihill has two more traditional hotels planned for Vernon. On Aug. 10, the Vernon planning board voted to grant preliminary approval to Mulvihill’s Sussex National Development partnership to proceed with plans to build two hotels at a site known as the Sammis Farm, on Route 94 in Vernon, provided it can meet 20 board-mandated conditions, including an ironclad pledge to banish all ideas of turning the standard hotel space into time-shared units or condominiums.