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Mamaroneck Stymied On Possible Hampshire Purchase

Updated Friday, March 19. Under increasing time pressure, Mamaroneck Town and Mamaroneck Village are continuing to pursue the possible purchase of Hampshire Country Club with help from a non-profit land organization, but they are being stymied by the inability to schedule meetings with the club board.

Take the Poll: Should Mamaroneck Purchase Hampshire?

Terence Nolan, senior project manager with the Trust for Public Lands, who has been working with the municipalities since mid-February, said “We believe the timing is critical to move ahead on this opportunity.” The club has substantial carrying costs it must cover, and faces increased expenses for spring maintenance.

However, Mr. Nolan reported, “We’ve had difficulties putting together meetings with the club board so we can get down to brass tacks on what a public acquisition might look like. There are a lot of ways to structure a project and before we go ahead, we would need to get all those i’s dotted and t’s crossed.”

Nor’easter Doesn’t Help

The March 13 nor’easter has pushed back the opening of all area golf courses and created its own set of headaches for Hampshire, which is impacted by tidal conditions. Large swaths of the course were underwater after the storm knocked out power to drainage pumps. “The whole of Orienta became a tidal basin,” said Mr. Stan Brettschneider, chairman of the the Hampshire board.

Hampshire Country Club's golf course had new water hazards, courtesy of the March 13 storm. Photographer Bryce Loebel

The club has been closed due to financial difficulties since December, but Mr. Brettschneider said, as of Wednesday, “we had personnel on site and due to this morning’s very low tide, we were able to evacuate a lot of the water.”

He reiterated his wish to move quickly on a sale. “We’re trying to finalize a sale that covers all liabilities pertaining to all debt – bank debt, taxes, payments to vendors and employees. I just want to settle this  as soon as possible and move on.”

However, he was reluctant to comment on the status of negotiations over the club purchase. He deferred questions about possible meetings with the municipal boards to William V. Cuddy, broker with C.B. Richard Ellis, the exclusive agent for the club sale. Mr. Cuddy did not respond to numerous messages.

Update: Mr. Cuddy did reply on Friday morning, but said, “We’re not in a position to discuss the sale at this time.”

What The Trust For Public Land Could Do For Mamaroneck

On a deal as complicated as Hampshire – with a volunteer club board , two municipal boards and two sets of land use boards, Mr. Nolan believes the Trust for Public Land could greatly expedite the process and coordinate between the parties to put together a package that works for all sides.

“This is what TPL specializes in – we’ve been around since 1972 and we’ve done literally thousands of these kinds of projects, and I’ve been working with TPL for more than a decade,” Mr. Nolan told the Gazette. “These projects are often complicated, with lots of moving parts, but what we’re looking at here is similar to what we’ve done elsewhere. I’m confident we could help.”

Mr. Nolan said,” TPL does not charge a fee to the municipalities. We typically cover our costs by fundraising around the project.”

Among the services he could help with are: appraisals, environmental assessments, title search, and surveys, in addition to coordination on funding that might include local funds (bonding), cash, private donations and grants.

The possibility of splitting off part of the property for housing is still alive. This could be for a limited number of upscale homes or for acquisition by private properties that already border on the club.

“This is an economy where you only get opportunities like this,” said Mr. Nolan, echoing points made by Mamaroneck Village Mayor Norm Rosenblum and Mamaroneck Town Administrator Steve Altieri. “If this was 2004, the property would already have been sold to a developer.”

“People are thinking about their pocketbooks and economic situation, and it’s understandable that they’re cautious. But we have to take the long view,” said Mr. Nolan.

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29 comments to Mamaroneck Stymied On Possible Hampshire Purchase

  • Concerned tax payer

    Get it done. Fore!

    • herbert

      This space is best used for low income housing.

      • Keep Hampshire as an Open Space

        Yes…low income housing makes a lot of sense. Great for our tax base and school system (which is already struggling to finance their budget), since we are doing such a great job providing for the poor in Mamaroneck and Larchmont. I am sure the food pantry will appreciate the increased business as they can hardly keep up with the population they are serving. Or are you suggesting that this property be used to line the pockets of a certain few…like the housing at the Regatta?

        Hampshire offers a unique opportunity to our community. There is very little undeveloped land in Southern Westchester. It would be a loss if Mamaroneck can’t figure out a way to keep this land open. I am sure some of the property can be developed into fields for our students (as stated by Bemused.) And I am not sure that another opportunity will offer itself for that use.

        The rest could become a semi-private 9 hole golf course…public on the weekdays and private on the weekends.

        • Richie W.

          I love the logic: don’t provide housing for low income people because the food bank will be swamped. I love it.

        • Keep Hampshire an Open Space

          I wrote hastily and while I think you distorted my meaning, I would like to clarify. My point is that Mamaroneck is already struggling to service their low income population …and the populatoin is quite high by national standards. Mamaroneck Avenue school reports (2008) that 28% of their children live at or below the national poverty line, while 8% of Central’s schools students are also at that level. (Larchmont: Murray: 0%, Chatsworth 2%) National average is 13.2% and the level is $22,050 for a family of four (a level if COLA adjusted [as it should be!] would be closer to $50k for our community, qualifying many more students.) Scarsdale and Rye report 0%. I think you need to be careful when you ask one community to carry such a large responsibility of caring for the poor. Already, taxpayers in Larchmont are angry at the subsidies required by MAS (smaller class sizes and increased school support.) I am not sure where the line between Larchmont and Mamaroneck is through the golf course…Eagle Knolls is Larchmont while Cove Road is Mamaroneck, but I do know that housing on the golf course would be districted to Central School, not Chatsworth or Murray where a little diversity may be a good thing.

          • Bonnie Blue Blogger

            Years ago, back in the 70′s, MAS had a magnet program. Several students from Murray completed their elementary school education at MAS to increase diversity. It should have been reciprocal but it was not – there were no students from MAS at Murray. Don’t know why that was or if the program was ever measured as a “success” but the idea had floated out there and been put to use, to some degree, a long time ago. I don’t think it altered any lives one way or the other. Kids shouldn’t be yanked from schools just because adults think it’s a good experience for them. There are plenty of opportunities to get worldly experiences in every day life. Why force it on people who don’t really want it? Especially children. With 28% of kids living in poverty on the other side of town as you suggest, I am sure there are plenty of after school clubs and sporting events where they can co-mingle. Uprooting children from their familiar neighborhoods to please the school board or some angry parents with a bone to pick is an equation for failure or at the very least, neutrality. There are other more productive ways to improve diversity.

            • Keep Hampshire an Open Space

              I am not sure why you are discussing uprooting children and angry parents. I was responding to Herbert’s call to turn Hampshire into low income housing and pointing out that Mamaroneck already cares for a population far greater than any other of the nearby communities (Larchmont, Rye, Scarsdale). Mamaroneck is having difficulty providing for this population…you can see it in the school budget and at the food pantry. Adding more low income families to a system that is not servicing them very well now, doesn’t make sense. I am in support of a plan as proposed by Bemused.

              • Hampshire Ho Hum

                Hmmm….It sounded to me that you were proposing more diversity at schools like Murray and Chatsworth. I wanted to point out that it’s not going to solve the issues, because kids are not the problems. It’s the adults who lack the ability to integrate and get along well today. Just look at the efforts of the Tea Partiers and read Frank Rich’s Op Ed in the New York Times to see what’s really going on w/ fear mongering and diversity issues in America today:

              • Danish Pastry

                FYI: Here is an eye opening statistic for anyone pushing an agenda or worrying about or even concerned for ‘diversity’ in American schools in this day and age:

                “By 2012, non-hispanic white births will be the minority in the United States”
                (from Frank Rich’s OP/ED piece in the 3/27/10 NY Times).

              • renee

                keep Hampshire public and charge for golf , pool and beach
                open up a good restaurant
                and also charge for people who want to become members

  • Bemused

    There are field sharing options which would reduce the cost to taxpayers. Private schools and Larchmont would probably contribute if some decent fields could be provided while still leaving a good open space. And of course 10-20 houses would more than replace the lost tax revenue w/o making a big impact.

  • Pro-Hampshire Purchase

    I say Mamaroneck should take advantage of this opportunity and buy Hampshire! Offer pool memberships to provide a lower cost alternative to the area country clubs. Dining rooms in the clubhouse could be rented for events and parties. And wouldn’t it be nice it the Club could have a few rooms available for overnight guests–I’d love to put family up at the Hampshire rather than at the Residence Inn!

  • Anon E Mous

    Perhaps those interested in using the property should form a club and purchase it. Or is that what just didn’t work, and led to a bankruptcy.

    So now proposed is government bailout, and another thing for our municipal governments to attempt to manage, as if it was already doing so well. And what do you know, it’s another ‘underwater’ (pun intended) property. Certainly sounds like it could be a sub-prime deal :-)

    ‘The contented and economically comfortable have a very discriminating view of government. Nobody is ever indignant about bailing out failed banks and failed savings and loans associations. But when taxes must be paid for the lower middle class and poor, the government assumes an aspect of wickedness.’ – John Kenneth Galbraith

  • Bill Simmons

    Publisher Note: I believe the tone of this and all debates would be raised if contributors were not allowed anonymity. There are excellent arguments coming from many points of view but sarcasm, derision, and vitriol spoil it.

    • Judy Silberstein

      We don’t disagree with you — but our experience is that requiring signed commentary shuts off the flow to almost nil.

      It would be lovely if people would be as polite when commenting anonymously as they are when signing their names. OK regular commenters: take the challenge. Can you make your points without sarcasm, derision and vitriol?

      • Anon E Mous

        Yes, a conversation had here in the past, interesting and provocative, and will likely occur here again as it
        does elsewhere on the world wide web.

        Yes, requiring proof of birth or legal name would likely limit discussion, but listening to CSPAN, one learns it does not guarantee even basic decorum.

        The challenge a good one, the boundaries are in each mind, but the quality of thought remain more critical than the blandness or pungency of the voice.

        As Oscar Wilde said, Vulgarity is the conduct of other people, just as falsehoods are the truths of other people.. Or to borrow from what is said to be a Greek proverb, ‘Think with the wise, but talk with the vulgar.’

        • Ollie Ollie All Come Free

          Don’t forget Mark Twain aka Samuel Clemens: “It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid, than to open it and remove all doubt”.

          With a screen name Anon E Mous, I figured you’d like to remain….anonymous.

          • Anon E Mous

            The more you explain it, the more I don’t understand it. – Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass, a/k/a Samuel Clemens

            P.S. Can we assume (yes, we know what it means to assume) that you are refusing Judy’s challenge?

            P.P.S. Do you and other commenters want to get back OT (on-topic)?

  • Reader

    The affordable housing advocates miss one major point. This property lies within the Town of Mamaroneck (not Larchmont) and the Village of Mamaroneck. Both have taken opputunities to provide affordable housing (Hommocks Park apartments in the Town and countless projects in the Village) It is Larchmont who is under the gun to provide affordable housing because they have never built any. Then there is the issue of buildable land. Did anyone drive by this week when more than half of the course was under water?
    Annonemous, the reason some clubs are struggling is they went on a building/renovation binge when times were flush with new members. When the economy tanked and members left, they couldn’t service the debt. Not unlike a lot of people in the country that have mortgages and helocs they can’t pay. Now the Town/Village has unparalleled opportunity to buy a parcel after the bubble burst. Best time to buy assets is when blood is in the streets.

    • Caddy Shack

      Well said……….However, scavengers are also bottomfeeders and often get what they pay for in life…

      While I think the Town and Village of Mamaroneck should buy Hampshire and turn it into a Rye Golf Club arrangement, you point out a VERY BIG CAVEAT: The golf course has been a flood zone for years and years and it is very expensive to managed that process. Due diligence is in order here!

      I leave you all w/ just two words of advice: Buyer beware.

    • Anon E Mous

      It is not the function of government to benefit from times ‘when blood is in the streets’.

      Capitalism does provide YOU, ‘Reader’ with the opportunity to do as you see fit; make an offer. Perhaps you can provide a desirable facility at nominal cost to residents. There has been no evidence presented that our municipal governments are up to this task.

      Geography lesson – the Village of Larchmont and most of the Village of Mamaroneck are in the Town on Mamaroneck. There are too many reminders of how dysfunctional this is, but the attitudes of your comments are even more concerning.

      The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot. – Mark Twain

      • Caddy in Shackles

        I s’pose AnonEmous is correct in his Geography lesson, and his assessment of the dysfunctionality of the zoning process in the TOM….and don’t even get me started on the “unincorporated” TOM. As GW Bush said to those of indecisive persuasion, those….infidels….”you’re either with us or against us…….what’s it gonna be???”

        I mean, like, it’s SOOOO Antidisestablishmenterianism, don’t you think??!!


        PS: So glad that AnonEMous is resorting to Mark Twain these days….Oscar Wilde was getting a little too, outdated!

  • Redacted

    Obtaining the property (and infrastructure) and operating it are two different things.

    After getting married, my wife and I (both from the L/M area) lived in Harrison for 15 years. They had a wonderful recreation program and facilities.

    When we left in ’98, the little gym they had on Harrison Ave, was $75/year. It wasn’t fancy, but perfectly adequate. And it was well run and looked after.

    There is nothing comparable here, which is a shame. (I know that Harrison has, (or had) a much larger tax base, due to the size of the community, and the fact that it included many corporate locations within the taxable area.)

    What there is here, for example Hommocks Pool, is in my estimation, poorly run and maintained. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, (sorry, there might have been some sarcasm and derision in those–will try to be more humorless and uptight, please bear with me), how many times has the pool had to be shut down and cleaned or repaired, and then the repairs repaired?

    Keeping things run well is hard and unglamorous, but is crucial if an investment like this is going to be made.

  • Reader

    Of Course Larchmont is within the borders of the town as state Law requires a Village to be a part of a town. But that does not mean the town is responsible for Larchmont’s need to build affordable housing. Nor does that mean they have to include Larchmont in the discussions. Other municipalities have been able to purchase golf clubs or other parcels during “distressed times” because that is when these parcels become available and usually at lower prices. A municipal government might also have a borrowing advantage that speculators may not have during distressed times. This is not about capitalism but rather opportunity.

    • Anon E Mous

      can be
      But Reader on,
      the NY Gov
      Too bad it’s
      that way.

      Then take
      a hike.
      See Albany.
      NYS Gov so
      Proof by
      locked itself
      out of own
      Too bad it’s
      that way.

      tough love,
      across the
      is the
      Too bad it’s
      that way.

      WHPPS, whoops.
      Advantage out.
      Nebraska Co.
      Has cash.
      Advantage in.
      And is it the
      function of
      Gov. to take
      advantage of
      Too bad it’s
      that way.

      Too bad it’s
      that way.

      gold dust
      is precious,
      when it
      gets in
      your eyes
      it obstructs
      your vision.

      Too bad it’s
      that way.