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billyblancoNYC
October 24th, 2004, 11:15 PM
Enough dirt to fill Empire State Bldg.
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/local/story/245465p-210293c.html

BY DAVID SALTONSTALL
DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU CHIEF


One of 200 dirt-filled trucks that arrive daily unloads at Ferry Point Park course in the Bronx.

The wind reader from Ireland has come and gone. Golf legend Jack Nicklaus has laid out the course. And every day, some 200 dirt-filled trucks dump another chunk of future fairway atop Ferry Point Park in the Bronx.
Yes, a golf course is taking shape in this once blighted corner of Throgs Neck, where for years the city dumped trash and, more recently, thugs dumped abandoned cars.

But now, after years of delay due to environmental suits, the city Parks Department and a private developer are sculpting what they say will be a world-class golf course at Ferry Point Park - just 10 miles from Times Square.

What's envisioned is an 18-hole, par-72 course designed by Nicklaus that will use more than 1.5 million cubic yards of trucked-in dirt - enough to fill the Empire State Building from top to bottom - to sculpt a grassy, city-owned course between now and 2007.

"You could be in Scarsdale, and you wouldn't even know it!" gushed developer Pierre Gagne as he stood among a series of rolling knolls now rising atop the marshy park.

Under the deal with the city, Gagne's Ferry Point Partners will develop the site at an estimated cost of $65 million . In return, the city gets at least $1.25 million a year, and developers must build a 19-acre waterfront park and esplanade around the course. After 35 years, ownership reverts to the city.

At one of Gagne's other Nicklaus-designed courses, the Golf Club of Purchase, memberships go for $350,000. Here, local duffers will likely be able to hit the links for around $65 - far more than the $35 greens fee at most city courses, but a bargain for a top course.

There is even talk of drawing a PGA Tour event to Ferry Point, where the absence of trees and waterfront locale are intended to evoke Ireland's classic, links-style courses. Nicklaus even brought in a wind reader from Ireland to help determine how the prevailing breezes might naturally sculpt the land.

"This is not just hurry up and go," said Gagne. "This is an art."

As Gagne stood atop a dusty spot that will one day be the 14th tee, the Manhattan skyline was clearly visible. To the east, the Whitestone Bridge rose majestically over the East River. Closer by, huge bulldozers shaped mountains of deposited dirt, some of which was excavated from Ground Zero during construction of the rebuilt PATH station there.

Gagne and his partners, who include Nicklaus and Paul Kanavos of Flag Luxury Properties, have so far gotten the go-ahead from the state Department of Environmental Conservation for 1.5 million cubic yards of dirt. Earlier this month, they asked for another 726,000 cubic yards, a request that is pending.

All the dirt is needed, they say, because the park is literally a dump. The city used Ferry Point as a landfill during the 1950s, which makes digging below the surface an impossibility. So every little peak and valley on the 212-acre course has to be sculpted out of imported dirt.

The tons of buried garbage also created vast pockets of potentially explosive methane gas in the ground, which environmentalists worried could be pushed toward surrounding homes by the weight of extra fill laid on top.

But a huge trench built around the site - paid for with $6 million in city funds - has helped the gas escape, and monitoring wells dug by the state DEC have shown no recent spikes in methane levels.

Community opposition also seems to have softened as residents start to see the course as a surefire way to boost property values.

"What the city is getting here is three things," said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "A championship-quality golf course, in a beautiful location, and with a very modest public investment."

brianac
October 26th, 2007, 04:40 AM
City Wasted Millions on Bronx Golf Project, Audit Says

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/10/26/nyregion/26course-600.jpg Rob Bennett for The New York Times
The Ferry Point Golf Course is planned for a former Bronx landfill.

TIMOTHY WILLIAMS (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/w/timothy_williams/index.html?inline=nyt-per)

Published: October 26, 2007
The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation paid nearly $6 million more than it should have to a company that was supposed to develop a Bronx golf course, and lost out on millions more because of poor management of the project, according to an audit released yesterday.

The parks department disputed the findings in the audit, by the city’s comptroller, William C. Thompson Jr. (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/t/william_c_jr_thompson/index.html?inline=nyt-per), and said it contained many factual errors.
The $84 million Ferry Point Golf Course, planned for a former municipal landfill in the east Bronx near the Whitestone Bridge, has been under construction for seven years. But even now there is no grass or trees, and the area frequently smells of the methane gas produced by the rotting garbage beneath it.

Plans for the course were first announced in 1998 by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/g/rudolph_w_giuliani/index.html?inline=nyt-per). It was supposed to have been built at a cost of $22.4 million, and to have opened in 2001. The hope was that it would one day serve as host to the United States Open and other premier tournaments.

But the site — 222 acres in the Throgs Neck neighborhood with views of the Manhattan skyline — has been plagued by problems including the discovery of high levels of methane gas, as well as arsenic, lead and other toxic substances.

In November 2006, after costs had risen and little construction progress had been made, the parks department voided its agreement with the developer, Ferry Point Partners. The Parks Department is now seeking a new developer.

The audit showed that before the department canceled the contract, it had paid Ferry Point Partners $5.98 million more than it should have in order to clean up toxic waste. It also said that the city had lost at least $3 million in licensing revenues that it would have received had the Parks Department worked more effectively to get the course completed on schedule.

“The parks department absolutely dropped the ball when it came to the Ferry Point Golf Course,” Mr. Thompson said in a statement.
“The parks department failed to not only ensure the timely completion of this project, but also failed to be vigilant of capital improvement costs at the golf course,” he added. “The parks department paid for work for which the city was not liable, and lost out on millions of dollars in revenue. More than seven years after the concession agreement was signed, the golf course is not nearly complete.”

A parks department spokesman, Warner Johnston, said Mr. Thompson had distorted the agency’s good work.

“The parks department disagrees with the findings of the audit and remains committed to developing the Ferry Point site,” Mr. Johnston said in a statement. “The comptroller has chosen to interpret the contract with Ferry Point Partners in an inaccurate way that distorts the environmentally sound and cost-effective decisions the city has made.”

The parks department response, which was included in the comptroller’s report, said the document “reflects numerous errors in both fact and law and a fundamental misunderstanding of a highly complex project.”

The parks department added that “the audit ignores many of the environmental complexities involved in attempting to construct a golf course on the site of a former municipal landfill in Ferry Point Park and criticizes Parks for taking the most environmentally sound and cost-effective approach in its efforts to create a golf course at this site.”

Ferry Point Partners, which did not return a call seeking comment yesterday, had billed the parks department $7.24 million for the cleanup work, but the audit found that the work performed had cost only $1.26 million. The rest of the money billed had gone toward work that should have been included as part of the developer’s agreement to build the course, the audit contended.

The audit said only 7 percent of the invoices for the toxic remediation work performed by contractors showed any notations indicating that the parks department had reviewed them.

“We prepared our own estimate because the department was unable to document the specific items of work — including the methane remediation work — for which it reimbursed the concessionaire, and could not reconcile the payments with the invoices submitted by the concessionaire,” it said.

brianac
November 9th, 2007, 03:07 AM
Termination of Contract Means City Paying More to Golf Course Builder

By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/w/timothy_williams/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
Published: November 9, 2007
The New York Times.

The Bloomberg administration said yesterday that its termination of its contract with the developer hired to build a championship golf course in the east Bronx had prompted an additional $7 million payment even though the developer had made little progress building the course.


The payout to reimburse the developer, Ferry Point Partners, for its costs brings the total of city money spent on the unfinished golf course in the Throgs Neck neighborhood to $15 million, said the city comptroller, William C. Thompson Jr. (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/t/william_c_jr_thompson/index.html?inline=nyt-per)

The city has also lost at least $3 million in licensing revenue that it would probably have received had the course been completed years ago as planned, and it is spending $2.2 million a year to monitor potential toxic hazards at the site, a former municipal landfill.

Mr. Thompson said in a statement: “It is simply astounding that after failing to perform any significant work at the site, Ferry Point and its subcontractors are walking away with millions of dollars. It is as if we are rewarding failure.”

The city voided its contract with the developer last year, but it was not terminated until Oct. 26, according to the termination agreement. The city is now looking for a new developer. Under the contract’s provisions, the parks department could have deemed Ferry Point Partners in default and avoided making more payments, Mr. Thompson said.

He also contended that the developer had improperly billed millions to the city for reimbursement of work to clean up environmental problems.

But in a joint statement by the parks department and the law department, the Bloomberg administration said it had been contractually obligated “to reimburse the developer for costs that include those related to the mitigation of this former landfill.”

Rick Matthews, a spokesman for Ferry Point Partners, said the $7 million and previous reimbursements fell short of what the company had spent.

In an audit released last month, Mr. Thompson found that poor oversight by the parks department had led the city to overpay Ferry Point Partners by nearly $6 million over the course of the contract. The audit also determined that the parks department had failed to impose work deadlines on the developer and had not adequately examined invoices submitted for city payment.

In 2000, Ferry Point Partners won the city contract to build an 18-hole course, driving range, restaurant and clubhouse. The course, to have been designed by Jack Nicklaus (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/n/jack_nicklaus/index.html?inline=nyt-per), had been budgeted at $22 million.

Seven years later, the site — 222 acres near the Whitestone Bridge — consists of little more than a series of giant dirt mounds. It has been found to be leaking high levels of methane gas, produced by the rotting garbage beneath it.

Last November, after the project’s estimated cost reached $84 million but little construction progress had been made, the parks department announced that it had voided its contract with the developer.

Yesterday, Ferry Point Partners said in a statement that it had not only properly performed its development role but had also saved the city money, despite being unable to complete the golf course.

“Ferry Point Partners completely fulfilled the terms of its contract with the parks department, and the way that the project was managed saved the city’s taxpayers millions of dollars,” said Mr. Matthews, the company spokesman.

lofter1
November 9th, 2007, 09:46 AM
Note that this ^ was a Giuliani deal ...

Fiscal Conserative?

Good Fiscal Oversight?

Questionable Judgment?

He claims he has a great record ...

Hamilton
November 24th, 2007, 07:24 PM
What a hair-brained idea. I don't understand why NYC Parks should be in the golf course business, of all things.

NewYorkDoc
November 24th, 2007, 08:02 PM
Anyone think a golf course is the best idea to go here?

NoyokA
November 24th, 2007, 08:06 PM
I think its a good idea, there are very few public golfcourses in the NYC area.

lofter1
November 24th, 2007, 08:53 PM
Another "good" idea -- but poorly executed, once again.

That ^ should be the Republican motto for this century :mad: