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In the News
We gather industry articles from around the region and post them on this page. As you’ll see, the articles are written by well-known reporters who are quite familiar with real estate in Upstate New York and offer their insite about the property, the location, and what it means to the local communities.
Brodie Mountain sold to group of Florida investors for just under $1 million
By Jane Kaufman, The Berkshire Eagle Nov 21, 2023
NEW ASHFORD — The former Brodie Mountain ski resort has sold at auction for $975,000 to a group of four Florida investors who plan to unveil their plans for the property in the spring.
The 500-acre property had been on the market for two years and had been dormant for much longer, after Jiminy Peak acquired the resort, ultimately closed it and sold it to Silverleaf Resorts LLC. Silverleaf Resorts was later acquired by Holiday Inn Club Vacations, which had no interest in developing the property.
Mitchell Muroff, owner of Muroff Hospitality Group, who marketed the property, said there was immediate and sustained interest in the property, which he described as unique to the Berkshires, even at its initial price of $2.7 million about two years ago.
There were, however, two issues that made closing a sale difficult: One was that the deed carries a restriction barring it from being used as a downhill ski resort; the second is that the purchase cost “was inconsequential” to the cost of the entire development, Muroff said.
He received one offer from a Texan interested in purchasing the property for closer to its final marketed price of $1.9 million, and that potential investor put down a deposit of $100,000. Unable to obtain financial backing to complete the sale, the developer left the deposit on the table.
That, he said, was “very unusual.”
After that Holiday Inn took the step of listing the property at auction, Muroff said, opting for an online format with the Commercial Real Estate Exchange, known as CREXI.
The online auction, which lasted for three days, placed a minimum bid on the property of $250,000, but Holiday Inn had an additional “floor,” Muroff said, of about $1 million.
“All the activity takes place in the last 30 minutes,” Muroff said. “In fact, most of the activity takes place in the last 10 minutes.”
The sale came with an 11-acre landfill.
Muroff said he believes the best use of the property would be for a small development that takes advantage of the recreational possibilities of the mountain.
In fact, a video his group produced touts those possibilities, including skiing, mountain biking and snowboarding, adventure park, ATV, ziplines and glamping. It points out its proximity to Williams College, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Clark Art Institute, Tanglewood and Lenox as well as Albany, New York City and Boston.
“The Berkshires have so much to offer,” a caption says, overlaying an image of Mount Greylock’s Veterans War Memorial against an amber sky. “Ski the beautiful Berkshires on your own slopes!”
Todd Oifer is one of the four investors who make up newly created Brodie Mountain Development LLC.
Oifer, who is listed as CFO of We Are the Briefcase, a media content and creation company in Tampa Bay, Fla., would not say what the plans are for the property.
“We’re very interested in the Berkshire area and New Ashford, and the history of Brodie Mountain,” he said, adding that his group is “working very closely with the town and the state to bring as much economic impact to the town and to everyone.”
Lindstrom is a registered professional lobbyist with Rutledge and Ecenia. Drew McCallum, according to LinkedIn, is co-founder of ConnectWise Automate (formerly LabTech Software), which offers remote monitoring an management software. DeMatteo is listed as board chair and co-founder of Northeast BioIndustries LLC of Farmington, Conn. It has a core competence “specific to cannabis-derived medical products and applications,” according to its website.
Oifer said he previously made an offer on the Brodie Mountain property that was rejected.
“It came back around,” he said. “We got a decent enough price that we can’t screw up too bad.”
NewEnglandSkiHistory.com offers a detailed history of Brodie. Following are some highlights from its account:
Brodie has been skied since the mid-1930s, when Joseph Aspinwall won the Eastern Amateur Ski Association open novice race. It had a ski jump and night skiing in its early years. After a hiatus, under ownership of the Kelly family in the 1960s, Brodie reopened. It had a three-story base lodge, and by 1966 was making snow. In 1967, it boasted the largest vertical drop in New England.
In 1969, Johnny Cash filmed scenes for “Trail of Tears” at Brodie.
Cross-country skiing was developed in 1975. In 1999, the Kellys announced they were selling Brodie Mountain to Brian and Tyler Fairbank, owners of Jiminy Peak. Jiminy Peak shut down downhill skiing operations in the 2001-02 season, and Silverleaf Resorts bought the mountain or $2.6 million in 2004 with intentions to build 326 timeshares. It was at that point that the deed restriction was placed prohibiting commercial downhill skiing and snowboarding.
The developers will invest in the long-dormant mountain.
“Everybody knows Brodie Mountain,” Oifer said. “We’ve got big plans for it. … Brodie’s going to be back.”
Former Brodie Mountain Ski Resort sold
By Michael DeMasi – Reporter, Albany Business Review
Nov 20, 2023
Updated Nov 21, 2023 10:22am EST
The former Brodie Mountain Ski Resort in the Berkshires sold for $995,000.
The 500-acre property in New Ashford, Massachusetts, was bought by Oifer Industries LLC of Florida, according to Mitch Muroff of Muroff Hospitality Group in Newton, Massachusetts.
The deal closed Nov. 17.
The LLC incldues four partners, according to Todd Oifer of Lithia, Florida.
“We’ve got big plans for the property but we’re not disclosing anything yet,” Oifer said in a brief phone interview Tuesday. “There will be more to come in the near future.”
Muroff secured the buyers on behalf of the seller, Silverleaf Resort LLC of Texas, a subsidiary of Holiday Inn Club Vacations Inc.
“They intend to slowly redevelop the property,” Muroff said of the buyers.
Brodie Mountain is about 40 miles east of Albany International Airport and less than three miles from Jiminy Peak, a longtime, popular ski mountain in the Berkshires.
Downhill skiing ended at Brodie Mountain in 2002, followed several years later by the closure of a snow tubing park.
Although there are ski lifts, they are about 20 years old and there’s a deed covenant that prohibits use for a period of time as a downhill ski course open to the public, Muroff said.
That prohibition came about after the owners of Jiminy Peak bought Brodie Mountain. Years later they sold to Holiday Inn Club Vacations/Silverleaf Resort as part of its purchase of a dozen ski resorts.
Holiday Inn Club Vacations had no plans to redevelop Brodie, Muroff said.
The deed restriction limited the marketability of the real estate when it was initially listed two years ago for $2.7 million. The price was then lowered to $1.9 million.
The property was described as “a prime residential development site or for snowboarding, cross country skiing, zipline, ATV, adventure park [or] glamping,” according to the listing. There are dilapidated buildings that can be renovated and an unfinished 12-unit condo complex.
There’s a row of wind turbines along the ridgeline of the mountain, but they aren’t part of the 500 acres that sold.
A year ago there was a deal with a different buyer but it fell apart due to a lack of financing. The prospective buyer wound up forfeiting $100,000 when the closing didn’t go through, Muroff said.
Muroff Hospitality Group represents independent and franchised hoteliers, restaurants, inn and resorts in the greater New York/New England region.
After bankruptcy, popular Fire Island resort hits market for $17M
Majority of complex, mecca for gay community, listed for sale
A majority of one of Fire Island’s best known resorts is on the market after its owners filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.
Approximately 75 percent of the Fire Island Pines Resort commercial district is being offered for $17.2 million, Muroff Hospitality Group announced this week. The district is home to some of Fire Island’s priciest real estate and is known as one of the most popular queer communities in the country.
The investment includes the well-known Pavilion nightclub, a hotel, two restaurants, a pool deck, boat docks and more stretching across 320 feet of Fire Island Pines’ main pedestrian walkway. There are a total of 10 buildings across two acres, according to the listing.
The resort is the lone hotel zoned within the Pines’ commercial district. The property includes a 16-room building and a three-room building for staff housing and potential to develop two parcels into 18 rooms or bungalows.
Muroff told The Real Deal that a buyer would have the opportunity to acquire additional assets down the line from the seller.
Outpost Pines, controlled by Ian Reisner and P.J. McAteer, bought the property in 2015 with big hopes to “renovate and rejuvenate” the resort, as Reisner told the New York Times at the time. But Outpost Pines has since defaulted on loans with two lenders, according to court filings, and has run into issues with the local town over conditions at the resort. The entity filed for bankruptcy in February; the sale is part of the owners’ reorganization plan.
The listing includes ideas on how to further develop the property. Muroff is promoting it to investors as a hotel that could be reimagined by upgrading the rooms and expanding retail and dining offerings for a more upscale experience — catering to the well-heeled city residents who summer on the island.
Fire Island is a mecca for the LGBTQ+ community, as featured in the eponymous 2022 movie. Fire Island Pines is one of the top vacation spots on the island, along with Cherry Grove. More than 100,000 people visit Fire Island Pines each summer, according to the listing.
Last year, Florida-based Bowline Hospitality Group purchased the nearby Ice Palace resort on Fire Island for $7.2 million, a transaction that included a nightclub and a 63-room hotel, the largest on the island. Muroff also represented the seller and procured the buyer on that deal.
Oregon hotel owner makes first acquisition in New York
By Robin K. Cooper – Reporter, Albany Business Review
Jul 6, 2023
After a decade operating hotels on the West Coast, David Mogg and Newtro Hospitality made their first investment in New York state, acquiring The Birches Motel on Route 9 in Wilton with plans to convert the property into a boutique inn with a “girls’ weekend getaway vibe.”
Mogg, who grew up in Perth, Australia, and spent several years working in Europe, has renovated, rebranded and operated hotels in California and Oregon. He moved with his wife to Saratoga Springs in May as he was preparing to complete the first of multiple investments in the region.
“We were looking at properties in the Northeast,” Mogg said. “Every state was on our map.”
Newtro Hospitality purchased The Birches, a 12-room roadside motel, last month from Austen Property Management and Robert Howe after Mogg was introduced to the property by broker Mitch Muroff of Muroff Hospitality Group. The acquisition closed June 21. Muroff represented the seller.
Mogg plans to purchase and operate multiple small independent motels in the region. He also has had discussions about purchasing the 77-room Landmark Motor Inn on Route 9 in Moreau, about 10 miles north of The Birches, but has not yet reached an agreement. The asking price for the Landmark is $3.6 million.
“I like the whole 1950s, midcentury boutique, upscale kind of vibe,” Mogg said.
He sees The Birches as a good first step to entering the market. Newtro Hospitality acquired the 1.4-acre property, which includes a two- to three-bedroom apartment, for $625,000. Mogg is renovating and reconfiguring the rooms this summer, while keeping his doors open for weekend crowds as the thoroughbred racing season is about to begin at Saratoga Race Course.
Peak season room rates will likely be around $300 to $400 a night. The apartment could rent for up to $2,000.
The acquisition and renovations were financed through a mortgage with Glens Falls National Bank and a Small Business Administration loan from Pursuit.
“I can fix an asset and renovate tired rooms and rebrand a property, but I have found the fastest way to success is to get to know people in the community.” Mogg said.
Renovations are expected to be finished in August and the property will be rebranded as the Santal Inn in September. Upgrades will include replacement of all beds and furniture, new floors, paint and wallpaper. Mogg also plans to install a fire pit and the rooms have been converted to self-check-in with keyless entry. A future expansion could include bringing some sort of food and beverage component to the property.
“This first deal gets me into the market and gets me living up here,” Mogg said.
Now, he can learn more about the market while continuing to search for future investments.
“My ears are open,” he said. “I am hoping that by next year, or by our second year, we will have an accepted offer on another property.”
While high interest rates and the softening economy have made it more difficult and expensive to finance hotel and motel acquisitions, Mogg said the environment has not deterred him from pushing forward with his plans.
“The rates are brutal, but interest rates are not forever,” Mogg said.
If you invest and build in some additional equity, it can set you up to refinance in a couple years, he said. The high rates also mean fewer potential buyers are bidding on properties, which helps ensure fewer investors are trying to outbid each other, driving up the purchase price in the process.
Lake George A&W getting facelift under new owner
by: Jay Petrequin
Posted: May 12, 2023 / 04:13 PM EDT
LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – There aren’t a lot of A&W fast food restaurant locations left in the North Country. Former places to get a burger in Queensbury and Whitehall are memories now. In Lake George, though, a longtime franchisee has been a staple of the summer tourist season. Get the latest, news, weather, sports and community events delivered right to your inbox!
This summer, the Lake George A&W on Route 9 will open under new ownership – and with some fresh touches. Hao Yang, a restauranteur from Albany, has purchased the business for $605,000, according to realtor Mitchell Muroff.
Muroff said that Yang is a current business owner within the Albany area. His new venture in Lake George will keep the A&W as what it is, with its signature orange-and-brown colors. The Lake George location offers the same burgers, shakes and root beer that the franchise is known for elsewhere, but also offers unique items like fried fish and seafood. Yang himself recently finished franchisee training.
The location has stood at 2208 Route 9 since 1959 – and the new owner is bringing in some upgrades. Renovations were already underway on Friday, including plans to modernize and update technology used by staff. A timetable for that work was not available. Yang also intends to expand the restaurant’s hours. ‘Muralgarten’ a decade-long dream for Glens Falls
It’s the second time the burger joint has switched owners in recent years. Wayne Pelak purchased the business in 2022. Muroff said that a combination of busy work and health issues prompted him to sell after a single summer season. Whoever’s in charge, and however rare the franchise may be in other parts of upstate New York, the local A&W will remain a signature part of the summer experience in Lake George.
“It’s an old renowned franchise in the way that Howard Johnson used to be,” said Muroff. “This is an excellent location, a strong seasonal business.”
Muroff Hospitality completes $1.5 million
sale of The Econolodge to Zamp Utica
May 16, 2023 – Upstate New York
Utica, NY Muroff Hospitality Group has sold The Econolodge; 309 N Genesee St. This updated economy franchised hotel boasts 40 guest
rooms on two floors with a mix of interior and exterior access. It’s located immediately off I-90 Exit 31 insures a constant mix of business, transient and commercial business.
The seller was Hisahasumaja, LLC and the buyer was Zamp Utica Hospitality LLC. Mitch Muroff of Muroff Hospitality Group represented the seller and secured the buyer for this exclusive opportunity. The sales price was $1.5 million and the transaction closed on Wednesday, March 29, 2023.
Sold! Lake George A&W for $605K
May 10, 2023
The Lake George A&W has sold for $605k, realtor Mitchell Muroff told The Chronicle. Hao Yang has purchased the 2208 Route 9 business from Wayne Pelak/CKHSW Corp.
Mr. Muroff said Mr. Yang is a restaurant owner in the Albany area who intends to keep operating as an A&W.
Mr. Yang has completed the brand’s franchise course “and is putting renovations into it now,” Mr. Muroff added.
It’s the second time the business has changed hands in around a year.
Mr. Muroff said shortly after the 2022 purchase, Mr. Pelak “had some health issues and staffing issues that made him decide to retire shortly after he acquired the property.”
A listing said, “The A&W Restaurant has been a family friendly mainstay in Lake George since 1959.”
“The majority of the business comes in the summer months, and so there’s plenty of time to take off and enjoy the off season,” it added.
Mr. Muroff of Muroff Hospitality Group represented the seller and Richard Blake represented the buyer.
The Lake George A&W was owned and operated by Dave Madden for roughly 44 years, until he sold it in 2022. Mr. Madden purchased and will soon re-open Zack’s Drive-in in Queensbury, near Hudson Falls.
Muroff Hospitality Arranges Sale of 40-Room Hotel in Utica, New York
April 11, 2023
UTICA, N.Y. — Boutique brokerage firm Muroff Hospitality Group has arranged the sale of a two-story, 40-room Econolodge hotel located just off Exit 31 of I-90 in the upstate New York community of Utica. The sales price was $1.5 million. Mitch Muroff of Muroff Hospitality Group represented the buyer and seller, both of which were limited liability companies, in the transaction.
Saratoga real estate agent acquires Hide-A-Way Waterfront Cottages in Lake Luzerne
By Robin K. Cooper – Reporter, Albany Business Review
Apr 10, 2023
Real estate agent Mary Diehl Gibson has purchased the Hide-A-Way Waterfront Cottages overlooking Lake Vanare in Lake Luzerne for $1.75 million.
Diehl Gibson and her family bought the 3.8-acre resort with 13 cabins and a two-story, 2,400-square-foot home from longtime resort owner and operator Peter Girard and his family. The transaction closed April 6. Broker Mitch Muroff of Muroff Hospitality Group represented the seller and secured the buyer.
Located at 138 Hidden Valley Road in a wooded area with 721 feet of waterfront, the Hide-A-Way includes a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom cabins with kitchens and private beach access, 6 miles southwest of Lake George Village.
The resort attracted multiple offers, including one from a potential buyer in Pennsylvania, Muroff said.
Ultimately, Girard and his family accepted the offer from Diehl Gibson and her husband Patrick Gibson, who see the Hide-A-Way as a legacy investment property for their family, Muroff added.
“They also have an opportunity to bring in more revenue by renting the house,” Muroff said.
The sellers had operated the resort since Peter Girard acquired the property in 2001. The single-family home was constructed in 2008.
The property was listed for sale last fall after Girard decided to retire. His daughter had managed the business for the last several years, Muroff said.
Diehl Gibson, an agent with the Diehl Done Team at Keller Williams Capital District in Saratoga Springs, was not immediately available for comment.
Located less than a quarter mile from the Double H Ranch for children with serious illness, the Hide-A-Way primarily operates as a seasonal resort, although three of the cabins are equipped to remain open year-round. Room rental rates run between $175 and $385 a night depending on the size, location and the time of year.
The closing marks the third resort real estate transaction completed by Muroff this year. He currently has offers on several other hotel and resort properties in the Adirondacks.
With rising interest rates, financing has become a challenge with some deals, Muroff said. However, that was not the case with the recent sale of the Phoenix Inn Hotel in North Creek in February, nor the sale of the Econolodge in Utica in late March. Each of those transactions were financed through a mix of Small Business Administration loans and conventional bank mortgages.
“It shows the banks are still looking to do deals despite the fact that parts of hospitality struggled during [the pandemic],” Muroff said.
Former Copperfield in North Creek sells for 1.94 million
Chronicle staff writer Zander Frost writes The Phoenix Inn, formerly the Copperfield Inn, in North Creek sold for $1.94-million on February 1, Realtor Mitchell Muroff told The Chronicle.
Mr. Muroff said the buyers are a daughter and father, Zihan “Hannah” Ren and Buhai Ren, from Chelsea, Massachusetts under the name Vision Landmark, LLC.
Mr. Muroff said the Rens own other properties, but the Phoenix is their first hotel. He said Ms. Ren “was a Realtor, as a matter of fact.
“Her mother and father are both there now. She’s there. And they’re going to be hands-on operators. At least some of the family will be up there always.”
Mr. Muroff said the Rens plan to invest in the inn, open both restaurants, pursue “conferences, wedding business, social functions, and “reach out to the community.”
He said they plan to offer Asian cuisine, “maybe some Chinese American food.”
The seller was Diana Espalza under the name Dmars II Realty Limited.
It’s the second time in four years that Mr. Muroff brokered sale of the property.
In December 2019, New York City caterer Ms. Espalza, a native of Colombia, bought The Copperfield for $1-million and renamed it Phoenix Inn Resort.
Mr. Muroff said Ms. Espalza made a significant investment in infrastructure.
It’s in “great shape right now,” he said.
Long Island native Eliot Monter built the Copperfield originally.
Michael Ellis and partners with ties to the area bought it in 2008 for $1.5-million. It was listed for sale for $2.85-million in 2018. An online auction in 2019 failed
to result in a sale. Principal owner Mr. Ellis reportedly rejected a $1.4-million offer,
sources at the time said.
Mr. Muroff touts the property’s “large ballroom” and food and beverage facilities. “There’s the opportunity to do a large banquet business,” he says.
He calls the suites “very, very beautiful. They’re reminiscent of hotel rooms on
Park Avenue in Manhattan, believe it or not,” with “beautiful case goods,” gas fireplaces and ski racks.
Mr. Muroff said there’s a large fitness center, which offers private memberships
for locals, and includes an outdoor pool in the summer.
Mr. Muroff told The Chronicle his current listing of the $7.5-million Roaring
Brook Ranch property in Lake George is “under agreement.”