Trump removes name from Bronx golf course, sells to Bally's casino chain

02:18 09.09.2023

In a major development, Donald Trump's name will be removed from a city-owned golf course in the Bronx as the ex-president's company, the Trump Organization, has agreed to sell its lease to the Bally's casino chain. The deal, worth tens of millions of dollars, comes after a prolonged battle between Trump and the city over the lease of Trump Golf Links Ferry Point. Former Mayor Bill de Blasio had sought to cancel the lease following the Capitol riot in January 2021. The lease transfer required approval from the city Parks Department and Comptroller Brad Lander, both of whom signed off on it on Thursday.

The lease, which originally extended until 2035, will now end on September 21, according to the city comptroller's website. Bally's plans to continue operating the site as a golf course and change its name to Bally's Links, removing the prominent "TRUMP LINKS" signage that has been visible from the Whitestone Bridge. The company aims to acquire the 17 acres of land that the golf course sits on and has also agreed to purchase an additional 17 acres near the site to donate to the Parks Department, pending state approval.

Bally's decision to take over the lease is a strategic move to secure a highly coveted gaming license in New York City. The company hopes that its proximity to the Whitestone Bridge, which sees approximately 40 million drivers annually, will give it an advantage over competitors vying for the remaining three full-scale licenses in the area. Racinos Resorts World and Empire City are expected to secure two of the licenses.

While the exact price of the deal has not been disclosed, Trump is expected to receive a substantial windfall. Since acquiring the lease in 2013, Trump has paid the city around $5 million and invested $10 million in building a clubhouse in 2019. The golf course generates annual profits of $2.5 million to $5 million.

Bally's plans for the site include building a tunnel under the highway to connect the golf course with unused areas of the property. However, the company's bid still faces several obstacles, including competition from other bidders and the need for state approval to use city parkland for a casino. The proposed casino's proximity to an existing slot-machine parlor in Yonkers is also a potential challenge.

The renaming of the golf course and the removal of Trump's association with the project have been welcomed by some elected officials, including former Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had previously tried to terminate the lease. However, the proposal to build a casino on the site remains controversial, with concerns about the impact on the community and the residential nature of the area. Local elected officials have yet to take a formal position on the matter, although there is support for the removal of the Trump name and hopes for lower greens fees.

The casino bidding process is ongoing, with developers required to submit official applications and meet minimum capital investment and gambling license fee requirements. The New York State Gaming Commission responded to developers' questions in late August, and the process is expected to continue for several more months.

The removal of Trump's name from the golf course is part of a larger trend in New York City, where other projects have also sought to distance themselves from the former president.

/ Saturday, September 9, 2023, 2:18 AM /

themes:  Donald Trump  New York City  New York (state)

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