Gitter cuts ties with Emerson to focus on new resort

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By Jay Braman Jr.
Dean Gitter, the mastermind behind the Emerson Resort and its trademark “world’s largest kaleidoscope,” has severed ties with the establishment after 16 years.
Emily H. Fisher, the primary investor of the Emerson Hotel and Spa complex in Mt. Tremper, has purchased Gitter’s shares to become sole owner of the Emerson. Fisher is now the sole owner of the facility.

The sale of the Emerson will allow Gitter to devote his time to completing his other local project, the long proposed Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park, the businessman said.
“Emily and I have worked together for almost two decades to bring to Shandaken an asset which has brought national attention to the town. At my age, I cannot continue to ride two horses; so Emily will continue her stewardship of the Emerson, while I concentrate all my energies on the Belleayre Resort initiative,” said Gitter.

Last month Gitter announced that the resort project, which has been dormant for the past couple years as Gitter and his Company, Crossroads Ventures LLC have been at work preparing information for the environmental review of the $400 million plan.

The Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park is to straddle the border of Ulster and Delaware counties and comprise two complexes: one with a 250-room hotel and 139 townhouse-style lodging units surrounding an 18-hole golf course; the other with a 120-room hotel and spa, 60 lodging units in two buildings and 60 detached units in up to 52 buildings. It has been under review since 1998.
In a recent interview with First Tracks!!, an online ski magazine, Gitter said that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) which the State Department of Environmental Conservation has been studying for a couple years, should be deemed complete by that agency and made available to the public for review.

Confident in DEC
“We believe the Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) will deem our application complete and release the DEIS for notice and comment as soon as the beginning of November,” Gitter told the magazine.

DEC Spokesperson Wendy Rosenbach did not confirm the timeline Gitter outlined, saying only that the department continues to work on the document.

“DEC continues to prepare Part C (Cumulative Impacts Section) and draft permits,” she said. “Once these are complete, DEC will release the documents for public review and comment.”
Rosenbach was also asked about the Unit management Plan for Belleayre, which would describe in detail how Belleayre would tie in with the Resort.

“The Belleayre UMP is not yet ready for release and will not be released for public review and comment until the cumulative impacts section is completed,” she said.

Once the DEIS is released there will be a comment period set for the public and related/involved agencies to study the document and weigh in on whether they feel the project and the construction of it is satisfactory from an environmental point of view.

Shared vision
Gitter and Fisher, who are long-time friends, shared a vision of creating new opportunities and jobs for the Catskills community. They became partners in 1994 and in 1996 launched Catskill Corners which consisted of the World’s Largest Kaleiodoscope and the Kaleidostore.

Now named the Emerson, the property has grown to include the Inn, Lodge, two dining venues and an award-winning spa. The Emerson continues to be the top private employer in Shandaken and one of  the largest private employers in Ulster County.

“Dean’s passion for restoring tourism and economic stability to the Catskills is tireless,” said Fisher. “Working with Dean has been an inspiration.”

Fisher’s son and daughter -in-law, Britton and Melina Fisher, have recently joined the Emerson team and are actively involved in planning for the Emerson’s future initiatives and continued growth.