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Mamaroneck Looks at Buying Hampshire Country Club

The Town of Mamaroneck and Village of Mamaroneck “are working very closely together” as they consider options for the future of Hampshire Country Club, according to Mamaroneck Town Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe and Mamaroneck Village Mayor Norman Rosenblum. Officials have known since before Christmas that the golf and tennis club on Cove Road was in financial distress and would be ceasing operation.

Supervisor O’Keeffe confirmed the municipalities were investigating “opportunities for preserving open space and for enhancing recreation,” but would not elaborate further.

Mayor Rosenblum was less circumspect. He said officials from the two municipalities had met with the Hampshire Country Club Board on Friday, January 15 to explore the possibility of buying all or a portion of the club for public use.

Google Map shows the extent of Hampshire Country Club. Click on map for further details.

Mamaroneck Village Manager Richard Slingerland said, “This could be run as an authority or an enterprise fund operation for recreational purposes.”

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the Village to acquire this kind of property,” said Mayor Rosenblum. “This is a no-brainer: you have to go after it whether you succeed or not.”

The mayor stressed, “It’s still in a premature stage.” However, he said he had been contacted by over 100 Mamaroneck Village residents expressing their interest, offering their experience and volunteering to raise funds to purchase the club.

Private developers also are interested. “It’s a very unique opportunity for the Town – and even for a private developer,” said Town Administrator Steve Altieri.

What’s There? What Could Be There?

The club includes over 120 acres, much of it now dedicated to an 18-hole golf course. Approximately 8 acres near Hommocks Road are in the unincorporated part of Mamaroneck Town. The rest is in Mamaroneck Village. According to Mr. Altieri, the entire property is zoned residential.

In theory, a number of single family homes could be built there. But at least part of the land is marsh or otherwise prone to flooding. In the December 1992 nor’easter, a Mamaroneck Village resident drowned at the club when the road flooded. (See: Centers for Disease Control: Surveillance of Deaths Attributed to a Nor’easter – December 1992.)

Finding the Owner

Ar the end of 2009, sources at the club contacted municipal officials, said Mr. Altieri. Now  “there are potential conversations about the future of the property.”

In addition to conversations, there are investigations ongoing into the right entity to deal with at Hampshire.

The owners of the club may be different from the owners of the land. “We’re trying to determine who has the authority over the disposition of the land,” said Mr. Altieri.

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27 comments to Mamaroneck Looks at Buying Hampshire Club

  • JKS

    This would be a wonderful thing for Mamaroneck and Larchmont. I hope they can find a way to make it work.

  • Diane Nelson

    I would love to see a community swimming and diving club on the property.

  • Eleanor

    Sounds like a wonderful opportunity for our community.

  • Clearly it would be great for the town and the village, but it would be great to get more specifics about the property. Have they actually gone bankrupt as reported in the Sound and Town Report on January 14th. Is there a broker handling the sale? How much in taxes did they pay a year? If that revenue is lost then how would it be made up ? Are there extra expenses like insurance that the town and village would have to pay? There is a public swimming pool at Hommock’s with a fee that goes largely unused. How would the community feel about another golf course that allowed all to use it?

  • this is a fantastic, rare opportunity to own a superb recreational facility that will enhance living in this superb area for all time.

  • Go for it!

    This is a great opportunity to improve the entire vitality of our community. This could easily be a revenue generator as well as provide much needed recreation space. I also believe this will be a great enhancement and draw business and residents to the community.

  • Barry Silverstein

    The Rye Golf and Swim club must be a good example of how this sort of thing can be done in a financially responsible way. It’s a great facility that all members of the community can benefit from.

  • Paul Ogden

    Town and village officials are right. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enhance our community. Subdividing a portion for residential development would provide revenue and property tax income. The rest of the land could be utilized for community recreation.

  • What a great opportunity for the local and regional community to have a property like this added as a much needed public accessible green space in this high density populated region. The area would be excellent for a combination of active and passive recreation with a combined joint ownership of -for example- the three local authorities and a third party like the New York Botanic Gardens to establish a coastal zone native plant/tree collection/arboretum/regional environment center combined with various sports activities. Frank Buddingh’ MSc.F.Arb.A.

  • Janet

    I wonder how the “active recreation” part of Mr. Buddingh’s idea might be used to help solve the playing fields problem the Larchmont/Mamroneck community has been trying to solve. Perhaps the Fields for Kids group can consider shifting their attention and funds to establishing part of this area for fields rather than converting the already existing fields at the high school. This seems an opportunity.

  • PJ

    Question I have is can the two municipalities get a hold of this property ,either through a lien or eminent domain type situation and hold it while something is figured out? Only reason I ask this question is because the big developers, ie Cappelli and the rest, will turn this into a residential strip mall closed gate property with all the benefits of tax breaks they won’t pay anyway.We may not want all of it but a chunk by Hommocks school should benefit the school and community. We need open space and this is 30 feet from a growing school. Another field in our system is needed and to me this is a no brainer. Done right look toward Rye and lease the property to a private business ,minus a little chunk,and there could be a win win situation here.

  • Dave Shugg

    This is a great opportunity to provide serious recreation to golf happy southern westchester residents. The costs could easily be recouped by redesigning the course with a view towards high end residential.

  • Does anyone know if the property has actually filed for bankruptcy? Who is the current owner?
    Who is the lawyer for the property?

  • future money pit

    My advice to save five years of wrangling and throwing good money after bad to lawyers and consultants (see Davis Island, Rye Playland, New Rochelle Armory). Turn the property over NOW to an efficient developer (not a small-town buddy of a crony) in exchange for a preservation, restoration, maintenance of good chunks of public space (shoreline, sports fields, trails). The end result will be the same with Option 1 (five years of procrastination and community agitation for nothing) and MUCH LESS expensive. Or let the usual small town administrators run the show, sit back and be ready to laugh or weep a lot.

  • Good idea to let the private sector in. Why isn’t the golf course looking for buyers?
    If the town buys it, they will not be able to collect taxes from the land they used to collect from.
    Real estate developers in this market are not going to pay top price for land.
    New York Times real estate section last Sunday stated that some residential owners are giving two months free rent: Soft rental market.

    Rye Playland has taken years and they are now building a Children’s museum when any major private sector hotel company would have paid the state millions to open up a major hotel overlooking the beach. Children want to go to the beach and the rides. Why would they want to go to a museum on the beach? Costing millions in public tax dollars.

  • bobo

    It should be somewhat easy to figure out what the costs would be in order to make this a viable purchase. Main clubhouse has been recently renovated, not much needed but general upkeep. Course has been updated within last 5 years- alot of drainage work done and general improvement to course. So if the owners are looking for 11 mill for the property, how many residents would need to buy memberships (similar to RGC) for the use of the facilities in order to break even based on bond costs for the purchase. The clubhouse restaurant should be leased out to a food service business for rent and a % of profit.
    While this might not be the most advantageous time to buy given the economy, maybe for the same reasons it is the perfect time to buy. We might regret in 5-10 years having missed the opportunity depending on what ends up on the land.
    If a developer intends to buy land and put up housing, I hope he is looking at house boats, that area floods whenever there is a large rain storm.

  • let me think

    Bobo says it all : “a viable purchase” – well, if a country-club cannot make it viable with their pricing power, how will a public entity with all the added overhead, staffing and minus the revenues (check out the “revenues” of Saxon Woods) make it work ? Forget profitability and try to reduce losses from day 1 is my suggestion.

  • bobo

    Maybe because membership is down to 70, and the members left would prefer to cash out than rebuild their membership rolls. Rye Golf is modeled differently than Saxon Woods. I believe Rye Golf as currently constituted is a profitable entity for the City of Rye. I understand that we are all concerned about adding on any costs to our local municipalities and taking property off the tax rolls. But what if this would bring in revenue to the local municipalities? Why don’t we wait and see what the numbers look like before we toss this aside.

  • Matt Monaco

    In bad times some of the best opportunities present themselves. This is one of them. Our town can not pass on this, you won’t see this sort of land available again, especially if they start building homes on it. Do we need more homes in the area???

  • Anon E Mous

    Opportunities present themselves, but intelligence is required to use them well.

    Can we afford simply to remove assets from the tax rolls when our municipal spending already exceeds its income? Can our municipalities run the existing facility effectively when the private sector could not?

    There is in some sense a shortage of open space. Although one might say that there is much open space available, e.g. over the uncovered and below grade portion of I95.

    Should we simply say ‘we want it’ or should we endeavor to find creative answers. For example, perhaps if the site is really useful to the municipalities, a trade of ‘air rights’ for some open land?

    Will some simply eye the candy and say they must have it, or will we all behave thoughtfully, using our education and knowledge, not only to find opportunities but also to develop practical and affordable solutions.

    Will we demonstrate that we’ve learned anything from this crisis? Remember, in ‘My Speech to the Graduates’, Woody Allen said, ‘Summing up, it is clear the future holds great opportunities. It also holds pitfalls. The trick will be to avoid the pitfalls, seize the opportunities, and get back home by six o’clock.’

  • W,Lewison

    Yes! We do not have a pretty, affordable community pool to enjoy in summer weather–like many other communities. We have had to make do with Hommocks all these years. I think having such a property will be a positive influence on real estate in the area, drawing buyers for whom affordable summer recreation is an important issue. It will also enhance the quality of life for current residents of all ages, many of whom do not have the resources to belong to a country club.

  • Bemused

    There is a pool at Hommocks. In a budget crisis which will last for years how can we suggest more public assets which need annual maintenance. Fields, largely or totally paid for by a private public partnership, some houses and some open space – great idea of a botanical garden if someone can figure out how to make it cost free to the Town. Clearly the Town has got to look to its neighbors – Larchmont being the big one – for some help on fields.

  • consolidator

    W Lewison, this is a joke, right ? you need an extra pool 500 yards away from Hommocks ? or are you referring to the fact that this piece of land is underwater most of the time ? do we need more parks ? why not use the ones we have ? I say freeze the land as nature preserve like in Rye, access at one hand, everything else on foot, no amenities. No cost no revenue, for years to come until this is all reclaimed by sea anyway.

  • Redacted

    If the Town buys it, I sure hope they run it better than the Hommocks pool. What a mess.

    It’s either contaminated with child poo, or falling apart and given over to some incompetent contractor who takes forever to fix it, . . . . except it wasn’t fixed right. . . so it’s got to be fixed again. . .then it get’s contaminated again. .

  • arthur goldstein

    It is a rare spectacular opportunity to acquire the Hampshire golf property. it would enhance our community for all time.

  • redacted is so right

    Public management equals incompetence, waste, misuse and ultimately demise. Why would we want to go there ?