Trump wins Ferry Point licence

Sean Dudley

Donald Trump’s controversial bid to manage the new Ferry Point golf course in New York has been approved by city councillors.

The course, which will be a Jack Nicklaus signature design, is currently being built under the supervision of architect John Sanford, once a Nicklaus designer and with extensive experience on landfill sites after his work at the Granite Links project in Boston. It is expected to open in 2014.

Trump’s proposal, which won assent by five votes to one at a special meeting of the city’s Franchise and Concession Review Committee, will see the operator put up around US$10 million to build a clubhouse, and also cover the cost of grow-in once construction is complete. But it has attractive criticism from many in New York given the apparently favourable terms granted to the Trump organisation, which will pay no licensing fee to the city for the first four years, and then only seven per cent of gross revenue, or US$300,000, whichever is higher, in year five. The total bill for the capping of the landfill site and construction of the golf course is expected to be around US$180 million.

Comptroller John Liu was the only councillor to vote against the deal in the committee. “This agreement, which amounts to a public subsidy for a luxury golf course, is not structured in the best interests of New York City taxpayers,” he said. “This deal does not give a fair return to our taxpayers and therefore we cannot support it.”

Liu’s office did amend the twenty year licence to ensure that the city would be able to claim the revenue from any TV programming that comes from the course – which will be named Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point Park. Trump has already suggested the course could hold major professional tournaments in the future.