The city of Amsterdam, N.Y. approved a contract with the Northeast Culinary Corp. in exchange for 5 percent of the company’s gross sales. The municipal golf course has been without a clubhouse since February 2019, when pipes froze, burst and flooded the facility.
The Amsterdam, N.Y. Common Council voted unanimously on June 29 to approve a contract for the Northeast Culinary Corp. to become the concessionaire for the clubhouse pavilion at the city’s golf course in exchange for 5 percent of the company’s gross sales, The Recorder reported. The contract runs retroactively from June 19 until Jan. 21, and gives the company’s owner, Sal De Pasquale, the opportunity to negotiate a renewal lease for the combined clubhouse and pavilion next year.
The municipal golf course has been without a clubhouse since February 2019 when pipes froze, burst and flooded the clubhouse at the facility, The Recorder reported. The flooding stymied the city’s plans to establish a city-run restaurant and bar at the location and sparked a months-long legal battle with the city’s insurance carrier, the New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal (NYMIR), over whether or not it would cover the full cost of restoring the clubhouse and bringing it up to code.
Ultimately NYMIR settled the case and city officials have said the clubhouse restoration project will be covered by an insurance payout up to $1.4 million, The Recorder reported. The project isn’t expected to begin until later this year.
In the meantime, however, NYMIR has paid business interruption insurance to renovate the course’s former golf cart storage building into an event pavilion, The Recorder reported, which recently had bathrooms and air conditioners installed, in effect creating what 5th Ward Alderman and Deputy Mayor James Martuscello has dubbed a “mini-clubhouse.”
The city went out for bids for the concessionaire in March, prior to when golf courses were shut down by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive orders requiring social distancing to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, The Recorder reported.
During the special meeting June 29, Martuscello asked Mayor Michael Cinquanti to explain what’s going on with the new concessionaire, The Recorder reported. Cinquanti said he decided it would be better for the city to lease the role of concessionaire to a private company rather than use city employees to run it.
“We had—I had—made the decision that the city was not going to run the concession this year,” Cinquanti said. “And with the clubhouse situation the way it was, I decided that we should bid-out the contract for running that concession this year under very strange circumstances, which were that we didn’t know what the concession would consist of because we didn’t [at that time] have a settlement with the insurance. Even though there were three or four people interested, we only got one response.”
Cinquanti said he reviewed De Pasquale’s RFP bid with muni golf professional Kevin Canale, The Recorder reported.
“We called [De Pasquale] in, I actually spoke to the gentleman; he’s been here three times and he understood there would be no clubhouse involved with this,” the mayor said. “He’s fully aware of what’s involved, and under those auspices we asked if he would take it for just this year, run the pavilion, run the drink-cart, and the terms are 5 percent of the gross. Hopefully what will happen is he’ll get an opportunity to work at the golf course, and the golfers will get the opportunity to meet him.”
Third Ward Alderman Irene Collins asked if De Pasquale’s company is prepared to operate under COVID-19 safety precautions, The Recorder reported. Cinquanti said Northeast Culinary Corp., which is based in Altamont, N.Y., has a restaurant and catering business that has been shut down for a while, but is now reopening under COVID-19 restrictions. He said the pavilion concessionaire will operate on a patio under an awning to be put up this week.
“That will be less of a challenge than when the pavilion opens up, and he brings people inside the pavilion where there will be social distancing measures,” Cinquanti said. “He’s fully prepared. He’ll have a plan in place for that.”
Cinquanti said he expects to get bids back for the clubhouse renovation by July 16, The Recorder reported. He explained why he thinks it is prudent to include an option to renew the lease for Northeast Culinary Corp. for the full clubhouse restaurant/bar plus the pavilion for next year.
“I think that’s the fairest way of doing this. He’s the only bidder,” Cinquanti said. “He’s a reputable person. He’s got a great track record, and I think he’s going to have a limited menu, but I think the golfers and the people who want to sit on the patio, or the new pavilion once that’s ready to go, are going to enjoy a good time because of who we’re hiring as a concessionaire.”