REAL ESTATE

Trump name removed from Bronx golf course

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A sign bearing Donald Trump’s name has been removed from the Bronx golf course previously operated by the former president. New manager Bally’s Corporation rebranded the course, previously called the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, Bally’s Links, and celebrated with a new sign reveal and ribbon cutting on Thursday. Bally’s purchased the lease for the course last September for $60 million and will operate the city-owned site as part of an effort to secure one of the region’s three casino licenses.

NYC had attempted to take back control of the golf course and two other properties leased by the Trump Organization following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Former Mayor Bill de Blasio argued a decision made by the PGA of America to cancel a tournament at a Trump-owned golf course in New Jersey showed the venue was unable to attract major competitors, therefore breaching its contract. The Trump Organization later disputed this claim, arguing that the contract did not require tournaments to be held at the site, but that it only required that the company operate and maintain a “first-class, tournament quality daily fee golf course.”

Later in 2021, the Trump Organization sued the city in retaliation, claiming that the action to terminate the agreement with the former president was politically motivated. As first reported by ABC News, the lawsuit argued that the mayor had a “pre-existing, politically-based predisposition to terminate Trump-related contracts, and the city used the events of January 6, 2021 as a pretext do so.”

In April 2022, a judge ruled that NYC had wrongfully ended the Trump Organization’s contract. Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Debra James wrote “the court agrees with petitioner that there is no ambiguity in the obligation in the Agreement that petitioner is required to operat[e] a first-class, tournament quality daily fee golf course,” but added, “contrary to respondents’ argument, there is no provision in the Agreement requiring the petitioner to generate revenue from ‘tournament events.’”

In February 2023, Bally’s announced a tentative deal was reached to take over 17 acres of the nearly 200-acre golf course for a casino. Bally’s officials have said that removing the Trump name from a massive sign that greets drivers as they enter the Bronx could increase their chances of securing one of the highly sought-after casino licenses in the NYC area, according to the New York Times.

Bally’s proposal is among several bids seeking one of the three city casino licenses approved for downstate New York. To qualify for the license, bidders must demonstrate control of the property where they want to construct a casino. With their control of the course, Bally’s has met this requirement.

The casino company is also contending with a well-known casino nearby in Yonkers seeking a full-scale casino license. Additionally, the golf course is located on city-owned parkland, which would require the state legislature to officially “decertify” it as parkland before it can be used for a casino.

Bally’s is funding a shuttle service to connect the golf course to nearby retail areas and additional transit options, as the area lacks sufficient access to public transportation.

Other casino proposals include a Jay-Z-backed Caesars Palace casino in Times Square, a luxurious casino on the upper floors of Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store in Midtown, a sports and entertainment complex across the street from Citi Field, and a Bjarke Ingels-designed mixed-use development near the United Nations in Midtown East.

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