According to a joint release from Mamaroneck Village and Mamaroneck Town on March 11, the municipalities are working with the Trust for Public Land (TPL) to pursue the possible purchase of the Hampshire Country Club, which is seeking a buyer.
At the same time, private developers are also looking at the property, which has a list price of $14.9 million.
Mamaroneck Is Optimistic
“We’re very hopeful the purchase will happen,” said Mamaroneck Town Administrator Steve Altieri, administrator for Mamaroneck Town. “We’re hopeful the Trust for Public Land will be able to assist,” said Mamaroneck Village Manager Richard Slingerland. “They bring their expertise, possible funding sources, and their organizational resources. They can also help negotiate a price.”
The Trust for Public Land is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to “conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come.” It can help the municipalities negotiate and structure a land purchase and also help secure federal, state or private grants.
The municipalities have been in joint negotiations with the Hampshire Club board of directors since the end of last year. The 66-year-old club ceased operating in December and has retained only a skeleton crew for basic maintenance. In January, the club announced it was seeking a buyer, and in February it announced an asking price of $14.9 million.
Now, as spring approaches, the club is anxious to firm up a deal so it can assure that funds are available to keep the grounds in shape.
“The season is of as much concern to the Village and the Town as it is to the club,” said Mr. Slingerland. “We are concerned that the club is maintained in good quality and condition, regardless of who buys it, so there is no negative impact on the neighbors.”
Asked to predict if or when a sale might occur, Mr. Altieri indicated he could not comment. “It’s a real estate deal.”
Larchmont Village Not In on Negotiations
Last month, Larchmont Village Mayor Liz Feld said her request to attend meetings on the purchase had been turned down because no part of the club is in Larchmont. The property, 116 acres between Orienta and Hommocks Road, lies mostly in Mamaroneck Village with a small portion in Mamaroneck Town.
Mayor Feld raised the issue of a possible loss of property tax revenue if the club were to be bought by the municipalities. “This will certainly be an issue in their decision making,” she said.
Asked about tax implications, Mr. Altieri said “in the scheme of things, if you consider the entire property tax levy, the income produced by the club – around $300,000 – is relatively small.” Further, he said, there is going to be a rather thorough analysis of the income possibilities – and the taxes get mixed into that analysis.”
A possible option is partitioning off a few acres for housing, which would then generate property tax revenue. Most of the acres, however, are in a flood zone and not practical for residential development.
Competition From Private Developers?
The municipalities are not the only entities interested in the property. A number of developers have approached the Gazette confidentially looking for information. At the right price – considerably less than $14 million –the developers thought the property could remain a golf facility.
Private and public interest in purchasing the Hampshire Country Club is ongoing, judging by messages received by the Larchmont Gazette this week. However, spring maintenance season is fast approaching, which puts pressure on the club and potential purchasers to firm up a deal so funds are available to work on the golf course.