By Saraana Jamraj
Colony West Golf Club in Tamarac is currently closed—but that isn’t stopping the city from moving forward with the construction of their new clubhouse or hotel.
So far, they’ve already completed the construction of the golf cart barn, work is underway on the clubhouse, and a third-party developer is working on the hotel.
To date, the city has spent approximately $3.8 million on construction at Colony West—including the demolition of the old golf cart barn and clubhouse, and construction on the new golf cart barn and clubhouse.
Additional funds from the budget will cover site improvements needed to the properties that serve the hotel, golf course, clubhouse, and cart barn.
The plans to upgrade Colony West have been long underway for the city-owned municipal golf course and have met a few obstacles along the road.
In 2011, the 262 acres were purchased for $3 million.
However, operating a golf course was not the intention of the city, according to former mayor Harry Dressler.
“The city is interested in buying land, not a golf course business. We are interested in buying land because the city wants to control the open space for environmental and other reasons.”
In 2013, management walked away because they couldn’t make a profit, so a new one was hired — with strings and money attached.
In May of 2018, the commission called a special meeting and voted 4-1 to increase the construction budget from $7.4 million to $11.1 million for the new Colony West Golf Club.
The meeting had a “walk-on” vote with no notice given to the public, as well as very little notice given to the commissioners.
Vice Mayor Marlon Bolton, who was a commissioner at the time, said he wasn’t notified about the vote until 8:00 p.m. the night before.
At the meeting, the original budget at $7.4 million, based on the conceptual plan by Finance Director Mark Mason, was increased. City Manager Michael Cernech suggested that making the clubhouse one story instead of two might be the only way to reduce the cost of the multi-million dollar project.
However, the commission ultimately decided that it would negatively impact revenue from weddings, parties, and corporate events.
Bolton was the only one to vote against the massive 50 percent budget increase, citing the need to take spending of resident’s money more seriously.
Mayor Michelle Gomez, the vice mayor at the time, supported the project and budget increase — saying that while fiscal responsibility was important, it would be irresponsible to take away the revenue provided by catering events and parties at the clubhouse.
Since then, construction has continued, and the clubhouse will be two stories tall and 18,135 square feet, and the cart barn will be 7,541 square feet.
While Tamarac is providing and funding the construction of the golf cart barn and clubhouse, there are also private developments nearby.
Hotel developer and third-party investor, AD1 Global Hospitality Investments, is developing a privately-owned, five-story, 120-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott at Colony West estimated for completion by July 31, 2020.
According to City Spokesperson Sue Zeiler, 50 percent of the construction has already been completed on the clubhouse with an estimated completion date slated before the end of the year.
While the State of Florida is still shut down and clubhouses and hotels are mostly inactive, it is unclear when Colony West will be open to the public.
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