The Raleigh Hotel, the landmark Catskills resort is open for business again as a weekend retreat for Hasidic Jews and others. “Things are being done the right way,” said Mendel Lerner, who’s running the 320-room hotel for Ralhal LLC, a corporation formed by Congregation Khal Bnei Zion of Brooklyn. “It’s staying as a resort. And we’re going to be paying full taxes.”
The hotel, which shut down in December 2005 after longtime owner Mannie Halbert died, has been operating since January and is open to both religious and nonreligious groups for conferences and conventions, Lerner said.
The resort will also serve as a convenient stop for members of Lerner’s congregation, part of the Brooklyn-based Bobov sect, which owns a religious camp across the road, in addition to the nearby Heiden Hotel.
The congregation also plans to build summer bungalows on the surrounding 90 acres. Lerner has appeared before the Fallsburg Planning Board seeking approval for 320 condominium units.
Religious groups have already started packing the hotel on weekends.
A bus load of Orthodox Jews arrived from Monroe just before noon yesterday, and more visitors were on the way.
“As you can see, we have some big groups coming,” Lerner said, standing at the hotel’s entrance.
Town and county officials cheered the news of the resort’s reopening and the boost to the tax base.
Taxes on the resort and three surrounding vacant properties totaled $171,000 last year.
“That’s great news for the Town of Fallsburg,” said Deputy Supervisor Arnold Seletsky. “To hear that it’s going to remain as a hotel, that those tax dollars will keep coming into the town … we’re excited to hear that for sure.”
Ralhal, which bought the hotel in July for $5.1 million, has yet to register as a hotel with the county.
County Treasurer Ira Cohen said he will notify the group about that. He noted that Ralhal has until March 1 to file its taxes, including whether they plan to file for any tax exemptions.
“I’m very happy, though, to hear you say they’re going to operate it as a tax-paying resort,” he said. “That’s wonderful news for the taxpayers.”