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Green group says ACR developers skewed data in their favor

An environmental group claims that ambitious sales estimates for a large resort in Tupper Lake are out of sync with market realities.

Protect the Adirondacks Attorney John Caffry argued Thursday during a state Adirondack Park Agency hearing on the proposed Adirondack Club & Resort that sales estimates for resort properties it intends to sell are "drastically overstated."

The L.A. Group prepared the market analysis for ACR in 2005 and updated it again in 2010. During that time period, representatives of the group predicted that lots would double in value.

Caffry argued that the real estate market for resort properties crashed over that time period and that the projected increase in valuation is not consistent with market trends. During a cross examination of the L.A. Group's Jim Martin, Caffry called the methodology "random."

"Can I get estimates by throwing darts at a board?" Caffry asked.

Martin defended the process he used but admitted that he could not recall where some of the data came from, since much of it was gathered more than 5 years ago.

Administrative Law Judge Daniel P. O'Connell grew visibly irritated by the nature of some of the questions, and at one point asked Caffry to "stop it."

Another witness also testified that estimates for resort sales are accurate. Terry Elsemore, the president of a resort marketing company called Fractional Strategies, testified that the marketing plan and sales goals for the resort are reasonable.

"I do believe the numbers are achievable if the vacation home real estate market continues its current recovery," he said.

The same witness panel will convene again today to continue to discuss economic impacts on the public and municipalities.

This week's hearings are being held in Tupper Lake.

The testimony this week is part of the third and final round of hearings. If all goes well, the APA could make a ruling on whether to issue a permit on what would be the largest development project it's ever approved.

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