- Plans presented by Natural Resources Commissioner Dave Murphy project that the new clubhouse will open in October 2024.
- The project will cost just under $14 million plus an additional $5.6 million in debt service over the life of a 20-year bond.
- Murphy said the new facility will turn a profit and pay for itself over time.
QUINCY – Plans for new clubhouse at Furnace Brook Golf Club has passed the final hurdle, with the City Council approving $14 million in funding. This autumn, the clubhouse from 1926 will be demolished.
A maintenance building will also be replaced and improvements will be made nearby Forbes Hill Park, including $250,000 in repairs to Forbes Hill Tower, the water tower built at the turn of the 20th century.
Initial plans for the project were drawn up in late 2021, months before the city took ownership of the nine-hole course. Community meetings led to changes in the planned location of the new building and parking, Natural Resources Commissioner Dave Murphy said. Improvements to the park space were added, such as shade structures, athletic fields, and native trees.
“We wanted to do this right instead of doing it quickly,” Murphy told council members at the June 12 council meeting.
In 1971, Mayor James McIntyre negotiated a 50-year lease with the then-private golf club, which was struggling financially and couldn’t pay its tax bill for the previous year. Under the agreement, the club would pay the city $1 annually in lieu of taxes, and the land would be given to Quincy at the end of the lease. The transfer took place in January 2022.
Since then, the city has operated the site “as a true community golf course,” Murphy said. The rink plans to run a league for seniors this season. It also hosts the Quincy High School boys golf team as well as the joint Quincy and North Quincy girls golf teams, which “finally have a permanent home in Furnace Brook,” Murphy said.
According to the city’s website, Furnace Brook has a place in the annals of women’s golf. In 1949, Marie Robie drilled a 393-yard hole-in-one on the course, the longest ever recorded.
The new clubhouse
The top floor of the new 12,900-square-foot clubhouse will feature a pro shop, a large kitchen and a dining area that opens to a covered deck overlooking the water and the first hole. The lower level will include a golf cart loading area, locker rooms and four golf simulator rooms.
The south-facing roof has been described as “solar ready,” though Murphy said the compatibility of golf balls and solar panels remains an open question.
“It’s a pretty tight spot,” he said. “We need to meet with our partners to make a final decision.”
City officials expect to receive bids from contractors by August, and in September the 1926 clubhouse will be demolished. Murphy said workers will break ground on the new clubhouse in November and December, and construction will begin in January 2024. The new clubhouse is expected to open in October 2024.
The price tag
Quincy will finance the project through a 20-year bond with a fixed interest rate of 3.5%, with the first payments due in 2025. The total cost of the bond is more than $5.6 million, with interest payments peaking in 2026 at $471,491 and then falls. .
Murphy said the clubhouse, which he expected to last 75 to 100 years, will pay for itself. Furnace Brook Golf Club generates revenue through membership fees, greens fees, cart rentals, merchandise sales and food and beverage rentals, and other sources. Total projected revenue for fiscal year 2023 is around $950,000, with a net income of $80,268.
Murphy said the new clubhouse will significantly increase revenue, particularly through the four golf simulators, which he said will attract users year-round in all weathers and could add as much as $300,000 in annual revenue.
Ward 1 City Councilor David McCarthy supports the project, especially the simulators.
“There will be a line and a waiting list to get in,” he said. “It will be a big revenue generator.”
Murphy said food and beverage revenue could also increase. Fours Restaurant Group leases kitchen and dining space in the existing clubhouse for $20,000 a year. With a new building and an improved kitchen and dining area, the new lease, which the city will negotiate in late 2024, could attract higher bids, Murphy said.
Councilor Nina Liang made a motion to withhold funding until a lease agreement is in place with the next food and beverage provider in the new clubhouse. Council President Noel DiBona opposed the proposal on the grounds that it would delay the project. The motion failed, 7-2, with Liang and Councilwoman Anne Mahoney voting in favor.
Mahoney criticized the nearly $14 million price tag, not including debt service, as “excessive.”
“So it’s doubled in price,” she said. “The price you had estimated was between $5 (million) and $6 million; now it’s almost $14 (million). The size is the same. The same square footage. People who don’t golf don’t want to spend that kind of money. “
Ward 5 City Councilman Chuck Phelan noted that it’s not unusual for municipalities to operate golf clubs, citing Hingham, Braintree and Brockton as examples.
“I’d rather put a golf course there than put another development there,” he said.
The funding was approved by a 7-2 vote, with Liang and Mahoney voting against.
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Reach Peter Blandino at [email protected]