Category Archives: Sullivan

Borscht Belt to Rise Again… as a Casino?

from Fading Ad Blog

Word in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal was that a 432-room Borscht Belt hotel, the Nevele, could get a new owner. The place has been shuttered since 2009, though we know the area has been hurting for far longer than that. Many wonder what could revive the area. Fancy ski resort, a la Belleayre? Or just plain gambling? That’s what the developers, Claremont, are hoping for, and Gov. Cuomo is, too. Currently casino gambling is allowed only on Indian reservations. What do you guys think? Bring gambling to the Borscht Belt and hope it rises again? Or have you got a better idea?

Grants for Upstate Businesses

If you have a dream of moving north and opening up a little shop of your own, here’s some incentive: Sullivan County has started a Microenterprise Program to give grants of between $5,000 and $35,000 to local start-ups. Personally, I’d try to figure out how to reinvent a bungalow colony, which is still my dream.

Freemont Contemporary with 57 Acres, $499,000 — Good for a Group!

So many of our readers have gone bananas over modern houses for sale in upstate New York that we’ve started to scour listings looking for them. I’m less successful at it than Upstate Jane, who has a great eye for both real estate and design. But this place piqued my interest. It was built in 1984, and thus has a certain dated postmodern feel going on, a mishmash of styles that works in some places and is less successful in others. Operative word is windows. Some of them, I love — that wall of windows, some of those modernized eyebrow windows. Others look a little outdated, but nonetheless I get the sense that this place has a soothing feel inside.

And outside…57 acres! Pond, woodlands, some pastureland. The selling point, in addition to the house, seems to be its potential to split the land up. They write, “The property has frontage on two roads, so could be subdivided, as follows:
Upper 25 acres: $129,000
Lower 25 acres: $119,000
House, barn, pond and remaining land: $249,000.”

How about seven acres and that house for $249,000? Seem reasonable? Stats on the jump.

38 William Brown Road, Freemont Center (Matthew J. Freda) GMAP
Asking Price: $499,00
Beds: 4
Baths: 3
Year Built: 1984
Land: 57 acres
Taxes: $7,871.00
Features: Dividable land, pond, barn, cathedral ceilings, sunroom

Five Figure Fridays! Glen Spey Lake Cottage

It’s a light week in FFF as I’m actually going upstate for the weekend (to the Catskill Mountain Foundation’s lovely Sherwood House, in Maplecrest).  Next week will feature five Double Deals, two family (or two house!) properties.  In the meantime, here’s a charming little Glen Spey lake cottage, one road off of Mohican Lake (motorboats allowed, which may or may not turn your crank).

I love the odd little dresser built right into the wall.  This comes with a double lot and lake communities are usually tightly packed, so while acreage isn’t listed, assume it totals out to about a quarter or a third of an acre.  Fireplace!  Laundry!  This little charmer has it all, for half a hundred thousand.  Plus the town name sounds like a single malt scotch.

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Illustrious Upstater: Actor Mark Ruffalo is a Sullivan County Resident and Anti-Fracking Activist

I’ve loved Mark Ruffalo since he sexed-up Michelle Pfeiffer in In the Cut. Here’s further proof I know how to pick ’em: Mark is not only a full-time Upstater, according to this new New York Times’ piece, he’s also become an anti-fracking activist in his adopted hometown of Callicoon. That rhymes with swoon.

Swan Lake Contemporary, $219,000

Here’s the first line of the listing for this Swan Lake contemporary with three beds and three baths: “OWNER SAYS SELL AND WILL ACCEPT ANY REASONABLE OFFER.” Always a nice place to start. I’m feeling a little less gung-ho about Swan Lake since a few have written in to say that the lake itself is not so delicious — more a body of water to look at than to swim in. But if that doesn’t stop you, this is a nice size and a nice price, with a motivated seller. Last purchased in 2002 for $175,000 by a Manhattanite. It’s also for rent, for $1750 a month.  If you can get that, you could cover your mortgage several times a year. Stats on the jump.

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Swan Lake Villa Rental with Pool

I got wind of this four-bedroom chalet-ish rental on Swan Lake through the local parents listserv in my neighborhood, and it caught my eye. Hilltop pool! 360-degree views! Mod furnishings that look more Heywood Wakefield than IKEA! It says its on 10 secluded acres, which I did not realize was a possibility on Swan Lake. Hm.

Perhaps most interesting is the rental price. Starts at $350 per night and $2500 per week. A similar property, with five beds and three baths, in need of a designer’s touch, is $165,000. Let’s say you spend $100,000 renovating and adding a pool (is that too modest an estimate, if the property only needs cosmetic changes?) — I still think you could make most of your mortgage and expenses back if you rented it out for one week a month. The house above is a world more appealing than other Swan Lake rentals I’ve looked at, so that’s a lesson, too: if you want to make a little income off your country house, beautify it right.

Town of the Week: Swan Lake

Of course, there’s no town to speak of in Swan Lake, N.Y. According to one loyal reader who owns a co-op home in a bungalow colony there, “There is a place called Mike’s Deli where locals hang out, that is it!”  There’s a tremendously unpretentious country club, and a wonderfully misnamed development called “Presidential Estates,” a four-season compound of humble homes — neither presidential nor estate-ish — that has a pool and tennis courts, as well as lake access. There’s also the Swan Lake Resort Hotel, which seems not to have a website, but here’s a video remembrance of it from its Borscht Belt days, when it was called the Stevensville Lake Resort (Stevenville was once the name of Swan Lake — the latter name is better, yes?).

So what’s to recommend the hamlet of Swan Lake, 111 miles from the 11215 zip code and 1o minutes southwest of downtown Liberty, NY (which, in all its potential and complications, deserves its own post)?

The lake, of course. It’s private, with few motor boats, except for those owned by folks who have deeded rights to them (if you want that, look for a home that comes with motor boat rights, but I think motor boats ruin a lake, myself). Although we’ve heard from residents that it’s not great for swimming — really just a body of water to look at, which is perhaps why those places with pools are in such high demand.

And then there are the prices: they’re good. The most expensive home for sale in Swan Lake, NY is $599,000, and there are dozens under $100,000 (which our Five Figure Friday correspondent will be covering in the future). Most of the homes are newish, mid-20th century, little low-ceilinged cabins that can be renovated into stylish, comfy mod getaways if you have the right design sense. (By the way, we recommend our newest correspondent, Upstate Jane, who owns Dichotomy Interiors and has done amazing things transforming small, dark humble little places into hip pads).

We’ll be concentrating on the mid-range stuff this week, $100,000 to less than $300,000. Happy hunting!

Five Figure Fridays! Spotlight on Sullivan County

Welcome back to Five Figure Fridays!  Today we’re turning our bargain-hunting eye westward, to Sullivan County.  Not as mountainous or foresty as the Catskill Park/Greene County area, not as homogeneously pretty as Dutchess/Columbia, Sullivan has clearly felt the financial downturn severely and real estate prices show it.  Taxes seem to be on the rise – properties in Liberty (which will get is own FFF spotlight in coming weeks) look like they’ve seen taxes jump 300%+ in the last three years.  You’d want to get to know the areas to see if they fit your preconceptions of an upstate getaway, but the values are spectacular compared to Sullivan’s tonier cousins.

Details and more pictures of each property are after the jump.  From highest to lowest:

Callicoon 3BR - $99k

First, a cedar-sided village charmer in the wonderfully-named riverside town of Callicoon.  Three bedrooms and some recent renovation work – shake siding, architectural shingle roof – plus a non-tiny .6 acre lot.  Adorable rocking chair front porch (complete with rocking chair!), although you’re right up against the road in true old-school neighborly fashion.  The realtor’s listing includes an attic photo, which is kind enough to show there may have been some leakage around the chimney.  $99(.9)k, so this one just makes the cut.

Hortonville 3BR - $89k

Sitting on a big, manicured 1.4 acre lawn is this unassuming Hortonville 3BR.  It could use some refreshing of the interior design but everything looks relatively clean and ship shape.  There’s even an “outbuilding” which could serve as the world’s most bootleg guest cottage!  $89k

Parksville 48 acres - $79k

This one requires some imagination and a rugged, outdoors-y mentality, but: 48+ acres for less than $80k.  I know.  I can’t believe it either.  It’s right up against Rt-17 (the future I-86) but with almost 50 acres to work with you can find a spot far from the highway.  Bring your friends!  Erect a yurt!  Buy an Airstream (here’s one for $4750 on Craigslist) and camp off the grid!  The possibilities are endless.  $79k.

South Fallsburg 2BR Lake Cottage - $69k

Here’s a lake cottage in South Fallsburg which has had some renovation work done recently (which, if we’re being honest, has a pretty DIY vibe).  It’s part of the Pleasure Lake Hunting Club, with deeded lake access, and if GMaps is accurate then this is pretty darn close to lakeside.  It’s a tiny lot, at .11 acres, but the seller is offering (always potentially sketchy) owner financing!  Has been on Zillow for more than a year and a half.  $69k.

Fremont 3BR on 2.7 acres - $39k

Finally, I know.  I know.  It doesn’t look like much, but stay with me here.  First of all, it’s on 2.7 acres for less than forty large.  BOOM.  Second of all, visit the gallery to see the rest of the pictures – this place is actually really cute inside.  Biggish at 1300 sq ft, with three bedrooms, a 70s-tastic kitchen (please, nobody renovate this kitchen) and big living room.  The outside may be more Breaking Bad than Gilmore Girls, but a place with some offbeat charm on a real plot of land at this price is impossible to dismiss.  $39k (I mean, really).

After the jump: links and stats for each, plus a big gallery with a bunch more photos.  Happy bargain hunting.

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Feral Pigs Run Amok in Sullivan County

We’re lifting this from the wonderful Watershed Post blog. After all, we seek to present the most important information so you can make a clear decision about where to buy, rent, live and visit in upstate New York. So we thought you should know about the pigs. Sounds funny, actually serious.

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