Nevele Grand Hotel
The Nevele Grande Hotel (NEV-uh-lee) was a high rise resort hotel located in the Town of Wawarsing, just outside Ellenville, New York; it closed its doors in 2009. The Nevele dated back to the days of the Borscht Belt, opening in 1903. “Nevele” is “Eleven” spelled backwards — according to lore, after the eleven nineteenth-century schoolteachers who discovered a waterfall within its present-day property. Its property included a once highly regarded 18-hole golf course and a 9-hole golf course which are also closed and have fallen into disrepair. The property is now privately owned and motion-sensor alarms in all of the vacant buildings discourage would-be explorers.
The Nevele Country Club was established in 1901 by Charles Slutsky, who named the first accommodation the Nevele Falls Farm House. Following the Catskill hotel fashion of Mission Revival architecture new wings were built in that style in the 1920s and 1930s. The Slutsky family also operated the adjoining Fallsview hotel, which was merged with the Nevele for a time. In the 1950s and 1960s the Nevele was greatly expanded in the modern style that had by then come to prevail in the Catskills. Architect Sydne Schleman designed the Vacationer Wing and the Waikiki Indoor Pool in 1954. These were followed by architect Herbert D. Phillips' Golden Gate and Empire wings from 1956, linked to adjoining buildings by underground tunnels. Phillips also designed new lobbies in a style that followed the influential hotel designs of his former employer Morris Lapidus, who had worked at other Catskill resorts. By 1964 Phillips was a partner at the New York firm Viola, Bernard & Phillips, who designed the ten-story dodecaheronal Nevele Tower. The nearly circular building was intended to counter the excessive corridor lengths that plagued more traditional Catskill hotels.
1990s and later
Originally named simply Nevele, the resort was renamed the Nevele Grande when it again merged with the adjacent Fallsview resort after the Nevele was sold by the Slutsky family in 1997. President Lyndon B. Johnson once stayed at the Nevele, to dedicate a new hospital in Ellenville in 1966. By 2006 the Nevele Grande had fallen on hard times and the Fallsview property was sold. The Fallsview has since reopened as the Honors Haven Resort and Spa. The original Nevele property, containing a distinctive high-rise, remained open for several years after the split as the Nevele Grande resort. Owners Mitchell Wolff and Joel Hoffman struggled financially and failed to pay taxes and eventually shut down the resort down without notice after the 2009 Fourth of July weekend.
On September 1, 2009, an auction of the property was cancelled the day before it was to occur because a buyer was allegedly found. However, by the time the auction was scheduled the property had fallen into a state of disrepair, including "musty staircases and rooms, big and small, with odd smells wafting out of them." The hotel remained unsold months later, although Hoffman was still attempting to generate revenue with a deal to sell timber on 100 acres (0.40 km2) of property. He also renewed an agreement to let Nextel put cell phone antennas atop one of the buildings.
On March 26, 2010, New York State Supreme Court Judge Mary Work granted Wolff ownership of the hotel in light of Hoffman's failure to pay Wolff an earlier $2m judgment. The initial dispute arose when Wolff sold Hoffman 99% control of the hotel in exchange for lifetime health benefits, a deal on which Hoffman almost immediately reneged. Judge Work described Hoffman's mismanagement of the hotel "staggering," and upbraided him in court for failure to be forthcoming.
In May 2012, Nevele Investors LLC, a subsidiary of Claremont Partners Ltd., which had purchased the resort, announced that the Nevele Grande would undergo a $500 million redevelopment to turn it into a resort and casino, subject to approval of state legislation to allow casino gaming. The 1966 tower and entrance lobby, ice skating rink, and golf course would be retained in the new complex.
In September 2017 Nevele Investors LLC announced a re-opening date of March 2020.
Currently, the remains of the old hotel still stand among growing construction in and around its campus. Local police consistently are forced to patrol the area due to growing reports of trespassing in the decaying buildings. Although the state rejected the proposal to bring gambling to the project in 2014, a developer plans to incorporate the hotel into new mega sports complex with construction expected to begin in 2017.
The Nevele is located in a valley just to the west of the Shawangunk Mountains, between two small lakes. The complex is dominated by the Nevele Tower at the main entrance drive. The Empire Wing is to the east and contains the main lobby. The Stardust and Safari Lounges connect the tower and the Empire wing. Other wings include the Colonnades and the Pennsylvanian. Conference facilities, unusually extensive for a Catskills resort, surrounded the guest wings. The Nevele had a total of 430 rooms at its height. Renovations in the 1990s have obscured the notable design features of the 1960s interiors. The Waikiki Indoor pool and health club are the easternmost components, beyond which lie the ski chalet and ski slope. The 1970 ski chalet was designed by Dennis Jurow using glulam wood beams that sweep upward to a line of skylights. The resort also included an 18-hole golf course, with nine more holes available on the Fallsview resort, designed by Robert Trent Jones and Tom Fazio.
- Fischer, Molly (September 1, 2009). "Faded Catskills Classic Has Mystery Buyer; Currently Seeking Backup". New York Observer. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
- Bosch, Adam (March 26, 2010). "Nevele owner loses resort". Times Herald-Record. Middletown. Retrieved 2011-12-18.
- Padluck, Ross (2013). Catskill Resorts:Lost Architecture of Paradise. Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. pp. 120–133. ISBN 978-0-7643-4317-9.
- American Architects Directory (PDF) (Second ed.). R.R. Bowker. 1962. p. 551.
- Doxsey, Patricia (September 1, 2009). "Nevele Grande Sale in Works". Daily Freeman. Kingston. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
- Brooks, Paul (September 1, 2009). "Group Buys Ellenville Hotel". Times Herald-Record. Middletown. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
- Bosch, Adam (October 11, 2009). "Despite promises, Nevele Grande still unsold". Times Herald-Record. Middletown. Retrieved 2011-12-18.
- "Mysterious Foreign Millionaire Buys Nevele Grande Hotel". Yos lz Neias. September 2, 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
- "Nevele Hotel in Catskills Set For $500 Million Redevelopment". The Jewish Voice. May 2, 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
- Paul, Brooks (May 16, 2016). "Nevele sports complex plans still in the works". Times Herald-Record (Middletown, NY). Retrieved 13 August 2016.