Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman said this week the town has struck a deal with the owner of the Roslyn Country Club to buy most of the facility’s property to create a town park.
But owner Manouchehr Malekan said consummation of the deal depends on residents dropping their lawsuits against him.
Kaiman said under terms of the town’s deal with Malekan, the town will acquire 7.3 acres of the Roslyn Country Club property, including its pool and tennis courts from Malekan for $2 million. Refurbshing the pool and tennis courts will cost approximately $6.8 million, Kaiman said.
Malekan will retain approximately three acres of the 10.5-acre property, including a catering hall, with his portion of the property to be zoned for commercial use. The town’s part of the property would be zoned as parkland.
Malekan said the prospective deal with the town was a verbal agreement in principal. He said the homeowners have to drop the lawsuits against him - but he expects that will happen.
“They can’t have the cake and eat it,” he said. “There is no reason that they wouldn’t do it. Because their whole lawsuit is they want a recreation facility.”
Lawsuits went back and forth between Malekan and the 700 residents of the Roslyn Country Club development, a source familiar with the suits said, when Malekan contested their rights to use the facility for $100 in annual fees. He subsequently shuttered the facility in 2007 and residents brought a suit to gain access to it.
Last year the town board considered taking the property under eminent domain. But it then began negotiations with Malekan for a deal structured along the current lines which it plans to vote on at its June 19 meeting.
Todd Zarin, president of the Roslyn Country Club Civic Association, said the deal would benefit his community and those living beyond its borders.
“It’s a great deal for the community, not just the Roslyn Country Club,” Zarin said. “And it’s a good deal for the town.”
Zarin said he expects residents in Roslyn Heights, the Willistons, Old Westbury and Mineola would be interested in joining the facility.
“There’s been an enormous amount of interest in it,” Zarin said.
But Zarin said community members want to meet with Malekan to discuss the details of the deal.
“We’d welcome a conversation with Mr. Malekan. There are very few parties to litigations that are not eager to see them end,” he said. “Clearly we want to see resolution to this.”
The $2 million for buying the property from Malekan would be drawn from the town’s environmental legacy fund, which has been used to purchase open space, Kaiman said.
The town plans to issue a $7 million bond to refurbish the decrepit pool and tennis courts, which have not been maintained for the past several years while the facility has been closed. Kaiman said he is confident that debt service on the bond and the cost of operating the new park facility would be paid from membership fees.
“It’s a good deal for the town. We get the benefit of a recreation facility with a reasonable expectation that it will have little or no impact on the residents,” Kaiman said.
The town estimates principal and interest payment on a 15-year bond at $596,000 per year and annual facility operation costs at $656,650 per year. While construction costs are expected to be $6.8 million to refurbish the facility, Kaiman said the town is opting for a $7 million bond to ensure it has sufficient resources to complete the work.
Projected fees for annual memberships is estimated at: $975-$1,125 per family; $860-$960 per couple; $740-$800 per individual; $600-$750 for senior couples; $510-$600 for seniors (60 years or older), disabled persons, volunteer firemen, veterans and ambulance workers.
Revenues from a concession service at the facility is estimated at $15,000.
Projected annual membership fees for the pool, including the concession, are estimated at $980,000 per year based on a projection of 1,000 members.
Total annual membership fees, including $85,000 in membership fees for use of the tennis courts, are projected at $1,255,000.
“In some years, we might do better and some years a little worse. The fee structure will be based on covering the revenues,” said Kaiman, who added that revenues would “even out over time.”
Leaders of the New Hyde Park, Lakeville Estates and North Lakeville Civic Associations, also in New Hyde Park, and the Albertson Civic Association, have opposed the town’s plan, saying membership fees would not cover costs of refurbishing and maintaining the facility.
The cost and revenue projections are accessible online through a link on the town’s Web site.
Kaiman said the issue of the lawsuits between residents of Roslyn County Club - originally a development built by Levitt & Sons - and Malekan does not concern the town.
“That’s not really in our control,” Kaiman said. “Ultimately, he can say he won’t sign the agreement because the lawsuits are out there.”