HGAR’s CID Tackles the Future of Route 17

John Jordan | September 2017

HGAR Commercial & Investment Division Panel on the future of the Route 17 Corridor

GOSHEN—The Commercial Investment Division of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors hosted an informative and at times provocative roundtable discussion on growth along the Route 17 corridor and how the current two-lane (both east and west) arterial can handle future growth.

With the March opening of the more than $1-billion Resorts World Catskills Casino and Resort in Sullivan County and the prospect of a $500-million LEGOLAND New York theme park being developed in Goshen, both business leaders and residents of Orange and Sullivan counties have expressed concern about how Route 17 can handle the millions of new visitors that will travel to the region. The highway already suffers from periodic traffic backups due to the high volume of traffic generated by the highly popular Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, for example.

HGAR’s CID roundtable panel held on Sept 7 at the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in Goshen discussed the good-news-bad news impacts of economic growth on Orange and Sullivan counties. The panel featured: Orange County Partnership President and CEO Maureen Halahan, Sullivan County Partnership President and CEO Marc Baez, David Mistretta, general manager of Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, and Nancy Proyect, president of the Orange County Citizens Foundation. Co-modertors for the breakfast program were John Lavelle, a commercial broker with Rand Commercial and CID President John Barrett

At the session, Halahan, Baez and Proyect revealed that their respective organizations feel that Route 17 needs to be improved to accommodate the future growth in the region. In fact, all three organizations have embarked on a cooperative campaign to convince state lawmakers to free up $4 million to have the New York State Department of Transportation review prior Route 17 improvement and expansion studies, the latest completed in 2013, in order to draft an Implementation Plan that would include all needed improvements. The plan would also include priority projects that could be undertaken in the short term.

Proyect said that the plan would look at the work that would be needed to alleviate expected traffic congestion from Exit 131 in Central Valley to Exit 104 in Monticello. While all expressed support for adding a third lane in each direction on Route 17, the panelists believe that the project would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build and will probably not be built in the short term.

Woodbury Common’s Mistretta said that Gov. Cuomo’s decision to expedite work on the Route 131 improvement project adjacent to the popular discount outlet center will help alleviate traffic in and out of the property that attracts approximately three million vehicles a year. The project, expected to cost between $130 million to $150 million, will include the advent of cashless tolling, which should also help decrease traffic congestion in that area and at press time is scheduled to begin this November.

Halahan related that the proposed LEGOLAND New York project, if approved, will come with approximately $40 million in traffic improvements, including a new Exit 125 in Goshen that will feed traffic directly into the theme park.

The theme park project, which could begin construction next year, is in the final phases of the approval process in the Town of Goshen.

For extensive coverage of this event, please see the print edition of Real Estate In-Depth, including the much anticipated Orange County Supplement.

The CID program was sponsored by Dolgetta Law PLLC.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth