Plans for new clubhouse at Amsterdam Muni Golf Course approved

Demolition at the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course by Pareene Contracting, to make way for a new clubhouse by Executive Group, in Amsterdam on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.

Demolition at the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course by Pareene Contracting, to make way for a new clubhouse by Executive Group, in Amsterdam on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.

AMSTERDAM — Construction of the new clubhouse at the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course is expected to break ground in the spring following site plan and special permit approval by the Amsterdam Planning Board on Wednesday.

BBL Construction has already been hired to build the 14,000 square foot clubhouse and could begin work in April once final design elements have been wrapped up by Phinney Design Group and building permits issued by the city, property owner Lance Orcutt said Friday.

The former clubhouse on Upper Van Dyke Avenue that suffered extensive water damage from burst pipes in 2019 was previously demolished by Orcutt to make way for the new construction.

The city opted to use the $1.6 million insurance payout for the damage to cover the budget deficit at the municipal course and instead carved the clubhouse property out from the golf course to sell for $50,000 to limited liability corporations controlled by Orcutt.

Orcutt, the co-founder and president of city-based Executive Group, has pointed to the clubhouse project as an opportunity to showcase the high-end millwork produced by his company to adorn five-star hotels and restaurants that will furnish the constructed clubhouse while simultaneously filling a void in the local market.

“Part of the reason we decided to do this project was to use the new facility as a sales tool for the company,” Orcutt said. “The Amsterdam golf course really hasn’t had a proper restaurant or food service for years. The city, public and hopefully the Executive Group can all benefit from the project.”

The new clubhouse designed by Phinney will harken back to the shingle-style architecture popular in the northeast around the turn of the 20th century and will be constructed along the footprint of the former building.

An entrance from Upper Van Dyke Avenue at the second floor level will lead to a banquet facility with room for around 160 guests featuring a corner bar. A rear deck will overlook the golf course with room for additional banquet seating.

Plans for the event space replaced the concept for fine dining accommodations on the second floor originally included in plans unveiled last summer.

The second floor will also feature the clubhouse kitchen, a private meeting area and restrooms.

The ground floor level will be accessible to golfers from the rear of the hillside clubhouse leading to an outdoor patio or an interior dining room and bar. The semi-casual setting will be comfortable for players in between rounds or locals eating out in the pub-style venue.

The floor will feature restrooms, a lobby, storage space and room for the possible relocation of the golf course pro the shop.

Mayor Michael Cinquanti said the city is currently negotiating details for pro shop space with Orcutt, but no decisions have been made.

“Whatever we do has to be something that will benefit the city and something that is fair to Lance,” Cinquanti said. “The possibility is there we will do that.”

The third floor of the clubhouse will hold office space, storage areas and the building’s mechanical components. An elevator will serve all three floors.

In addition to obtaining building permits before construction, Orcutt indicated the project has one final hurdle to clear next month when the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency decides whether to issue a payment in lieu of tax agreement for the project.

PILOT agreements normally set property tax payments below the full assessed value of the property that gradually increases towards the full assessed value over the years of the agreement.

“That’s an essential piece of the puzzle to making this project,” Orcutt said.

If a tax break through a PILOT agreement is awarded, Orcutt has argued the city will still benefit from some level of taxes for the property that was previously fully exempt when it was city owned, a stronger source of sales tax revenues and a likely boost in revenue at the golf course attracted by the new amenities.

Construction of the clubhouse is estimated at a roughly $3 million investment, according to Orcutt. Escalating construction costs and more accurate projections based on the designs have driven the anticipated cost up from original estimates of $2.2 million.

Cinquanti said the investment and finished project will far exceed what the city could have accomplished if it had attempted to renovate the water damaged former clubhouse building with the insurance money.

“The clubhouse is going to be second to none in the area, it’s going to be beautiful. I’m looking forward to groundbreaking and completion. It’s not just something golfers will enjoy, it will be a destination in the city,” Cinquanti said.

BBL Construction estimates the building can be erected in roughly nine months, which Orcutt believes will have the project on target to open for the spring 2023 golf season even factoring in possible delays due to the ongoing limited availability of subcontractors and supplies.

The Amsterdam clubhouse will likely be operated by Up to Par Management depending on their performance running the Van Patten Golf Club in Clifton Park this season, Orcutt said. He purchased the 27-hole golf course last year.

Amanda Bearcroft, director of Amsterdam’s Community and Economic Development Department and executive director of the AIDA, believes the clubhouse will fill a demand in the city for event spaces. She noted calls have already come in from individuals and organizations interested in holding events at the clubhouse.

“It’s really more than a clubhouse, it’s an event and banquet facility that doesn’t exist right now in the area,” Bearcroft said. “There is not anything like that currently within the city of Amsterdam and really Montgomery County. It’s going to be a draw for the area.”

Cinquatni agreed, adding that the new amenities at the clubhouse will help drive new and returning players to the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course to generate revenues and ensure the course is self-sustaining.

Reach Ashley Onyon at [email protected] or @AshleyOnyon on Twitter.

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