In January 2010, the City Park Improvement Association issued an RFP for the development and management of the golf courses that was due by Thursday, February 11, 2010. Proposals were received from Billy Caspar Golf, Honours Golf, and the Bayou District Foundation.
Comparing the cost of the proposals to City Park, in a nutshell
The "City Park Golf Consolidated Income Statement" from the City park website (attached here), prepared by Economic Research Associates for the original $46 million golf master plan, shows anticipated income from various scenarios, including the current 36-hole Phase I plan. Using their numbers from the 36-hole plan at year five and above of operation (to be generous), projected at approximately $1.1 million as the average net operating income, the BDF's proposed compensation of 40% of operating profits is $440,000/year, compared to a proposed $200,000/year for Honours Golf and a proposed $132,000/year plus unspecified "incentive fees" for Billy Caspar Golf.
Comparing the cost of playing 18 holes with cart on the new course for residents, in a nutshell
City Park's projected potential fees: $50-$95
Billy Caspar Golf proposed fees: $49-$78
Honours Golf proposed fees: $49-$99
Bayou District Foundation proposed fees: $50-95
Highlights of the three proposals
1. Billy Caspar Golf, LLC of Vienna, Virginia
Billy Casper Golf currently manages the North Course at City Park, manages courses in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Tennessee, and "municipal courses" in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
Based on its "intimate knowledge of the current New Orleans golf market", Billy Caspar proposes to construct only the one new course (Phase I) and to upgrade the current driving range and North Course. Regarding the proposed second new course (Phase II of the $46 million plan), it states "this course simply isnít needed." It proposes "an affordable, user-friendly golf course [the current North Course] and one more upscale, championship golf course." It notes that "the existing North Course is very popular and serves a recreational need to golfers of diverse abilities and socio-economic backgrounds."
Billy Caspar Golf's proposed modifications to the CPIA plan would result in the building of the new club house at the location of the existing club house, and indicated that moving the club house to the proposed site off Mirabeau would result in "adding roads where there arenít any."
Billy Caspar Golf indicates that existing FEMA funds ($15.5 million) are sufficient for its proposal and that it would achieve "Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary certification," said to promote wildlife controls, corridors and habitat. It proposes a ten-year contract with five year renewals for construction oversight for the new course at $3,000 a month and the operation of the North Course at $6,900 a month. Once the new course was constructed it proposes to manage both for $11,000 a month, with annual increases of 3% and unspecified "incentive fees." Billy Caspar said its opening date could be June 1, 2011.
Billy Casparís proposed greens fees for the new Course One were as follows:
Weekend Daily $64
Weekend Twilight $49
Weekend 9-hole $35
Weekday Daily $54
Weekday Twilight $41
Weekday 9-hole $45
North Course fees ranged from $16 to $28. Golf Cart fees ranged from $8 to $14.
Of the three responses, only Billy Casper suggested that the City of New Orleans had a role in the development of the new courses. It stressed that its proposal would preserve the decision-making of the CPIA and the City of New Orleans and that "the City of New Orleans and CPIA do not need to lose control of and the financial return from a valuable asset to the community."
It stated that it:
-submits an alternative proposal that would be considered a third-party management agreement in lieu of the hybrid lease or concessionaire agreement outlined in the proposal.
-unlike under the proposed structure, virtually all major decision-making for the Golf Complex is retained by the City and the CPIA.
-reserves the right to engage in discussions with the City with respect to this Response and Bid Proposal.
2. Honours Golf, LLC of Birmingham, Alabama
Honours Golf consults with or manages courses in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. Honours proposes to manage construction of the new course for $8,000 a month and manage the existing North Course for $10,000 a month. It proposes to manage construction of the new course only, for $12,000 a month. Once constructed, Honors Golf proposes to manage the new course for $200,000 a year.
Honourís proposed greens fees for the new Course One were as follows:
18 holes with cart $59Ė129
18 holes with cart (resident) $49-99
Short Course $10-30
North Course fees ranged from $39 to $69 (non-resident) and $30 to $59 (resident).
3. Bayou District Foundation, in partnership with the PGA Tour Golf Course Properties, Inc. and New Community Ventures of Atlanta, Georgia (associated with the Eastlake Development in Atlanta, Georgia).
BDF stressed that it was a non-profit foundation formed for community development purposes and that it would partner with PGA Tour Golf Course Properties, Inc. and New Community Ventures. BDF board members include Gerard Barrouse (BDF Housing, Inc.), Brian Cheramie (Seacor), Mike Rodrigue (Acme Oyster House) Gary Soloman (Crescent Bank and Trust) and John Davies (Baton Rouge Area Foundation).
BDF claimed that it had funding commitments of $2,600,000: $1,000,000 from the Solomon family, $1,000,000 from Barrousse, and $200,000 each from Boh Brothers, Cheramie and Rodrigue. Its response included letters of support from Senator Landrieu, Senator Vitter, State Representative Steve Scalise and School Board member Bret Bonin. The BDF proposal asserted experience in managing all TPC golf courses, including TPC of Louisiana, and listed Doug Thornton as a TPC of Louisiana reference contact.
The proposal included lagoon expansion (which it noted could be pumped out within three days of high water events). In contrast to Billy Casperís assertion that existing FEMA funds were adequate for its proposal, BDF indicated that $24,157,311 was budgeted for Phase I, including the new club house (to be built at Mirabeau and Wisner) and the new driving range. BDF also indicated that unbudgeted costs included project management ($1,000,000), golf course grow-in ($800,000), maintenance equipment ($750,000) and marketing and start up costs (unspecified).
It therefore appears that BDF's proposal has a substantial funding gap in the region of $8.5 million: the $24 million Phase I budget plus their "unbudgeted" costs of $2.5 million minus the $15.5 million City Park has on hand and the $2.6 million BDF claims is committed.
BDF proposed that it be compensated 40% of operating profits over a 40 year term and that PGA Tour Golf Course Properties receive 4% of gross golf operating revenues (3% of which would be donated back to ďthe partnershipĒ and/or City Park).
BDF's proposed greens fees for the new Course One are as follows:
Weekend non-resident $125
Weekend resident $75
Weekend outing $100
Weekend twilight $45
Weekday non-resident $110
Weekday resident $50
Weekday outing $80
Weekday twilight $35
North Course fees over these same categories ranged from $12 to $35. Golf Cart fees were $15 to $20.
Originally projected new greens fees presented to residents
From the City Park website regarding the potential fees for the new course:
Normally a master plan for the improvement of a facility such as a golf course does not contain the fee structure which will eventually be charged when the facility opens several years in the future. However in order to provide as much information as possible on the golf plan, the following are the targeted range of greens fees for the new courses for resident golfers with cart. This range depends on the season of the year, day of the week as well as time of play. It is anticipated that non-Louisiana residents would pay more to play the courses. The actual pricing for the courses may change when they open depending upon the local golf market as well as a variety of other factors. It is the goal of the Park to provide local golfers a number of options when it comes to pricing for the new courses. For information purposes the basic rate with cart for the North Course currently is $33 - $36.
[New] Course #1: $50 - $95
[New] Course #2: $40 - $65
[New] 9 hole: $12 - $17
City Park Golf Consolidated Income Statement