A $32.2 million investment in two upstate New York campgrounds by Equity Lifestyles Properties Inc. has local residents astonished at the price and puzzled over the company’s intentions, according to the Post Star, Glens Falls.
In August, the Chicago-based corporation purchased Alpine Lake Camping Resort in the town of Corinth for $18.65 million and last month bought Lake George Escape Campground for about $13.6 million.
The paper reported that the assessed value of the Lake George property is just under $2 million.
Equity Lifestyles owns 285 resorts, primarily luxury mobile home parks, with more than 111,000 sites, in 28 states. The company’s land and other assets have an approximate worth of $1.8 billion, according to information on file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Campground owner Dave DeRossett, who with his wife, Noelani, owns Lake George-Schroon Valley Resort in Warrensburg, said they were “absolutely flabbergasted” when they heard the price Equity Lifestyles paid for the campgrounds.
“There’s no way they can support that price with campsite rentals,” he said. “It’s pure speculation, but are they buying up lots of land to build condos?”
But Equity Lifestyles Vice President Ellen Kelleher said her company would be continuing the traditional operation of the two campgrounds.
DeRossett predicted otherwise. He said the statewide trade group Campground Owners of New York has told its members big corporations were getting into the campground business nationally to beef up their land holdings, primarily to sell homes and timeshares. His wife is a regional official for the group.
John Sheehan of the Adirondack Council said he was leery that the two campsites might be developed as high-density residential communities. Lake George Escape is located within the Adirondack Park, Alpine Lake resort is just outside its boundaries.
“It’s a crazy amount of money to pay for a campground,” he said. “This kind of money paid for campgrounds indicates to me they have no interest in continuing the existing operations.”
Maureen Donovan of the Warren County Economic Development echoed Sheehan’s point, adding that spiraling demand for waterfront properties has caused prices to “skyrocket” in recent years.