People don’t usually think of golf country clubs and eminent domain, but here we are! The latest eminent domain news involves the Willow Ridge Country Club in Harrison, NY, which has a history going back to 1917. This country club in particular was featured in the 2013 Martin Scorsese film "The Wolf of Wall Street," and also the coming-of-age Amazon Prime series, "Red Oaks." Alas, Willow Ridge’s screen stardom was still not enough to keep the town of Harrison from stating that it intends to commence eminent domain proceedings to acquire it. The town intends to make the private golf course into a municipally run public golf course.
The Harrison, NY area is known for its municipally run clubs including Rye Golf Club in Rye, NY and Lake Isle Country Club in Eastchester, NY. If the town of Harrison acquired the property through its powers of eminent domain, Willow Ridge would become the third municipally run golf club in the area.
According to local news outlets, the Harrison town board voted to hire the law firm of Bond Shoeneck & King for $50,000 to represent the town in eminent domain proceedings.
Although Willow Ridge has had some private suitors come knocking, including one management company and the Apawamis Club in Rye, NY, news reports say that developers have been wary to purchase the 121 acre property, which includes 25 acres of wetlands.
There has been a golf course on the property since a group of disenchanted Apawamis members left the club and established Green Meadow Country Club in 1917. Green Meadow closed during the Great Depression but the course was reopened as a public facility in 1941. It closed down again during World War II, and then reopened once more, changing hands for the third time.
The original Willow Ridge Country Club golf course was designed by Maurice McCarthy, a Scottish golf pro whose credits include a handful of golf courses in New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. It was redesigned in 1947 by Alfred Tull, who teamed with famed Golden Age architect Devereux Emmet to design or rework a number of local courses. Ken Dye is credited with a 1998 renovation. For golf enthusiasts, the par 71 layout is relatively short at 6,610 from the blue tees and 6,325 yards from the white tees.
We’ll take a “swing” at another blog post as soon as we have more information.
We’ve covered stories about eminent domain, threats of eminent domain, and eminent domain that didn’t happen. But this is the very first time that we’ve blogged about an eminent domain case that one side said was happening and the other denies.
Kravet Inc. is a well-known 102-year old designer and wholesaler of home furnishings. The company designs and sells fabrics, furniture, wallpaper and other home furnishings to interior designers and architects for use in homes. It’s an impressive company with designers relying on the company’s textile archive that dates back to 200 B.C.
The company was founded by Samuel Kravet, a tailor from czarist Russia, and his four sons, Morris, Sam, Sol and Hy, before the end of World War I. Today, all members of the family’s fourth generation are active in the business, along with three members of the fifth generation.
Anyway, enough with the family and company history, and back to the news! The company’s headquarters are currently located at 225 Central Ave. South in Bethpage. According to Carey Kravet, president and co-owner, the property was "sold to the MTA in June under the threat of eminent domain for the Third Track project."
Interestingly, MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said, "We didn't threaten eminent domain and the property is not being used for Third Track." Talk about miscommunication!
Kravet wants to move to Woodbuy with the purchase of the 60,070-square-foot Crossways Park building for $12.5 million and secure tax breaks from the Nassau County IDA. The hope is that in addition to the new headquarters the company will also open a showroom at 250 Crossways Park Dr. and more than 170 employees would work there. The company initially planned to move to Melville with $1 million in tax breaks over 15 years from the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency. However, the company decided not to move forward with that project.
The move to Woodbury, estimated to cost $16 million, would keep Kravet on Long Island. Other operations are in Manhattan, Chicago, South Carolina, Canada, England and France, with 600 employees in North America. Kravet has requested more than $217,500 in tax breaks over 15 years. The IDA board voted unanimously to negotiate a tax deal with the company.
The “almost eminent domain” Bethpage location features a $20 million transaction and involves an 80,000-square-foot building and a rail siding that will be used by the MTA to store equipment and materials for the LIRR as well as for employee offices. The MTA wants to replace rented space nearby at 610 Hicksville Rd, the spokesman said.
Stay tuned for more eminent domain firsts! Unless, of course, you want to read about Jennifer Polovetsky and Philip Sanchez, being added to the list of Super Lawyers 2020 for the sixth year in a row.