Prospective golf complex managers to present to council Tuesday

Prospective golf complex managers to present to council Tuesday

Michele Ellson

The next chapter in Alameda’s long-running golf saga is set to be writ tonight when the City Council is expected to tell city staffers how they feel about a pair of proposals from companies seeking to become the long-term operator of the Chuck Corica Golf Course.

The two finalists for the job, Greenway Golf and KemperSports, which has run the complex on a temporary basis since 2010, will present to the council for their input tonight. Assistant City Manager Lisa Goldman said city officials hope to negotiate with both companies.

Stevinson, Calif.-based Greenway Golf is offering a base of $3.4 million in rent over the next decade and $6.7 million in renovations at the golf complex, including $5.1 million worth of work on the Jack Clark South Course. The company, which operates a dozen golf courses, is asking for a 20-year lease with a five-year renewal option.

Kemper, of Northbrook, Ill., is offering a base of $3 million in rent over the next decade and $6 million in renovations that would include $2.5 million for the South Course and $2.25 million for the Earl Fry North Course. Kemper, which operates more than 100 golf and leisure properties, including 12 municipal courses in California, is requesting a 20-year lease with a 10-year renewal option.

Kemper has amended its bid to double the rent it had originally offered to pay while the complex is under construction and to direct more money toward renovating the South Course, which is the focus of Greenway’s bid.

Kemper expects to bring in about $40 million in revenue at Chuck Corica over the next decade, while Greenway said it thinks it can bring in $45.6 million over the next 10 years.

The golf complex earned about $3.3 million in the 2011 fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30, a chart provided by the city shows. That’s less than the $3.8 million it earned in 2008-2009 but more than the $3 million it netted in 2009-2010, and revenues appeared to be on track to rise this year.

Rounds of golf played at the complex also declined over the three-year period, though those also appeared poised to grow this year, the chart shows. The city pays Kemper a fee of $127,200 a year to manage the golf complex.

City leaders began to look for a private operator to take over the golf complex because they said they didn’t have the money to pay for the renovations it needs. A 2007 report from NGF Consulting said the complex needed nearly $11 million in renovations, including a $4 million makeover for the North Course, $3 million for the South Course and $1 million for a new Mif Albright short course and renovations to its driving range.

They agreed in March 2010 to negotiate a 30-year deal with Kemper for operation of the bulk of the complex and separately with the Alameda Junior Golf Association to operate the Mif Albright course. But the council balked when Kemper offered a proposal to operate nine fewer holes than the complex now has that also lacked cash from the company for improvements.

Kemper had worked with developer Ron Cowan on a proposal to trade the Mif course to Cowan for cash and land he owns on North Loop Road, but the council voted unanimously on March 6 to turn it down.

The company, which is positioning Chuck Corica as a good, low-price golf option according to a marketing plan included in Tuesday’s council packet, listed its size, service levels and location as strengths, and said the complex has the best course conditions available for its price point. Weaknesses include a lack of banquet facilities, curb appeal and carts, though the company has purchased a new fleet of carts and mowing equipment and is in negotiations with the family that owns Jim’s on the Course to expand the restaurant into a banquet facility.

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