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Donald Trump hands over Bronx golf course to casino chain Bally’s: sources

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Donald Trump’s name will finally be cleared from a golf course owned by the city of the Bronx – with the ex-president agreeing to hand over the lease to casino chain Bally’s after a long battle with the city.

The Trump Organization sold its contract to operate Trump Golf Links Ferry Point — a 20-year lease entered into in 2015 that former Mayor Bill de Blasio sought to void following the Capitol riots — to Bally’s as part of of an agreement worth tens of millions of dollars. The Post has learned.

The lease transfer – which for Bally’s represents a multimillion-dollar bet that the property will help it secure a popular Big Apple gambling license – was dependent on approval from the city’s parks department and comptroller. Brad Lander, who finally signed on Thursday. , sources said.

On Friday morning, the City Comptroller’s website showed that Trump’s contract with the Parks Department was now terminated. is due to expire on September 21.

Bally’s will continue to operate the site as a golf course and change its name to Bally’s Links, sources said – removing the huge formation of rocks and grass that spells “TRUMP LINKS” which has been impossible for drivers for years. miss when you cross the East River on the Whitestone Bridge from Queens.

The Post has reached out to Lander for comment. The Parks Department could not immediately be reached for comment.

In addition to taking over the lease of the 222-acre site, which includes the windswept public course and adjoining parklands, Bally’s will also purchase the 17 acres on which the golf course sits and has in turn agreed to purchase 17 acres near the site that she will donate to the Parks Department, the sources added.

The Trump Organization is set to make tens of millions by selling the contract to run Trump Links.
PA

Bally’s places its chips on the Bronx site to win what will likely be the only state gaming license for a new development in the city. Racinos Resorts World and Empire City are widely expected to win two of the three remaining large-scale licenses in the region.

Bally’s hopes its proximity to a major freeway – about 4 million drivers use the Whitestone each year – will help it win the casino competition against bidders in multiple Manhattan locations, as well as Brooklyn and Queens, and on the former grounds of the Nassau Coliseum. in Long Island.

A casino project away from densely populated areas proposed by Bally’s rivals would likely encounter less political opposition, sources said.

Trump had 12 years left on the contract, but Bally’s was desperate to get its hands on the land before the lengthy state clearance process came to an end. The deadline for final offers is expected to fall by the end of this year or early next year, sources said.

Representatives for Bally’s – led by financier Soo Kim, a Queens native and founder of hedge fund Standard General – could not immediately be reached for comment. The Trump Organization also could not be contacted immediately.


Photo by Soo Kim
Soo Kim runs Bally’s and pays quite a hefty price in hopes of securing a casino license for the Trump Links site.
TNS

Insiders declined to give an exact price for the deal, but Trump could reap a windfall after taking over the site under a 20-year deal with then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg in 2013 — after city ratepayers spent more than $127 million on the conversion. the old landfill in a course designed by Jack Nicklaus.

Trump is estimated to have paid the city about $5 million over the past eight years, in addition to spending $10 million to build a clubhouse in 2019.

Trump was not required to make any payments to the city for the first four years. He then had to pay the greater of $300,000 or 7% of annual gross revenue that would increase over the course of the contract, according to a 2016 Gothamist article.

The golf course generates between $2.5 million and $5 million in profits each year, sources say.

If approved, the Bally’s gaming complex would rise where Trump built the expensive clubhouse and its parking lot, insiders said. Bally’s plans also include building a tunnel under the freeway that runs through the sprawling park to connect the golf course to largely unused areas of the land, sources said.


Eric Trump and his dad play golf
Eric Trump led the negotiations to sell the Trump Links contract with the help of his father.
PA

Person playing golf at Trump Links
An estimated four million cars pass through Trump Links to and from the Whitestone Bridge, making it a good location for a casino.
PA

Picture of slot machines
A Bally Casino could soon replace Trump Links and be right on the Bronx side of the Whitestone Bridge.
PA

Despite all the proposed spending, there’s no guarantee the city will renew Bally’s rights to the land when the deal expires in 2035. Bally’s originally requested an 80-year contract for the site, but the Parks Department refused , as The Post previously reported. .

The 18-hole, 7,400-yard links course costs $171 on weekdays and $205 on weekends, according to its site. – almost five times higher than the green fees of many other municipal courses in the city.

It hosted an LPGA event sponsored by the Saudi government last October.

The city has been trying to rid the golf course of its association with Trump since 2021, when former mayor Bill de Blasio called off the deal following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, arguing that Trump would not be in able to attract golf tournaments.

Trump sued the city, and a Manhattan Supreme Court judge ruled in April 2022 that the deal was wrongfully terminated.

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