At Poxy, Is Third Time the Charm?

    After a second request for proposals for a restaurant concession at the Poxabogue Golf Course drew no bidders, Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi introduced a new request for proposals at last week’s town board meeting.
    On Jan. 11, Mr. Nuzzi said he had the sense from some of the people who had considered bidding in the past that they were not able to put a proposal together because of other commitments and travel over the holidays.
    This will be the third request the town has issued for the concession since August. After the first yielded no bids, Mr. Nuzzi, who handles Poxabogue for the town board, issued a new request with a provision that those interested be able to bid on rent as part of the package.
    At the time of the last request in November, Mr. Nuzzi said in discussions with East Hampton and others interested in the concession that he found that the set rental fee of $7,500 in the first request had been a chief concern for those who would otherwise be interested in the space.
    In the latest guidelines, those interested would bid against each other in setting a proposed rental rate. Mr. Nuzzi said in November that the towns would then have “the option to see if the numbers that come back are sufficient.” The towns will still seek to collect 10 percent of the gross revenues if that is greater than the agreed-upon rent. The number will be determined through a “point of sale” system, which the winning concession will install to track the monthly receipts of the restaurant.
    Hours of operation will be limited to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. If the golf center is open earlier, then the restaurant has the option to open a half-hour prior to that time. The restaurant will be required to be open year round with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
    Because the hours of operation are constrained based on community concerns about full dinner service operations, Mr. Nuzzi said in November that the towns acknowledged that it was appropriate to modify the rental rate. “We  still see no reason why there can’t be a successful food operation there.”
    East Hampton and Southampton Towns own the course jointly, but Southampton is the lead agency. East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson has indicated an interest in selling the town’s share of the golf course to Southampton, but nothing has been negotiated yet, according to Southampton officials.
    Dan Murray, who operated his Fairway restaurant there until last March, said he is still interested in reoccupying the space and that he is thinking of putting in a proposal for it. He said the first request package had some things he did not like and he was away during the period of the last request.    
    Mr. Nuzzi’s latest plan would entail the release of the bid package today, a deadline of Feb. 9 for proposals, and the award of the concession on Feb. 22. “We all want to have someone there for the beginning of the season,” Mr. Nuzzi said.
    After extensive water damage and mold was found due to a leaky roof, the town replaced the roof and brought the cesspools and electrical elements up to date. The exterior has been painted and new structural elements have been added. “It’s cleaned up and looks good. We just want the right concession to come in and improve the space, consistent with the flavor of the place and make it theirs. Hopefully, we’ll get a couple of responses.”
    Mr. Murray, who still has the equipment that he used when he was there, said he had not been back to the space since it was renovated. If he were to have the winning bid for the space, he said it would take him about a month to get it up and running. “Maybe we could shoot for April 1, depending on what it entails. We would like to be there, but we’re a long way from getting it yet.”