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Tioga Downs signs lease for golf course, plans to build new clubhouse

NICHOLS — The Tioga Country Club opened for the season on April 15 under a new name — Tioga Golf Club — and operator, Tioga Downs.

Tioga Downs announced it has signed a 99-year lease with Tioga Recreation Association for the Tioga Country Club. The facility is located at 151 Roki Boulevard in Nichols in Tioga County, not far from Tioga Downs.

Tioga Downs signed the lease for the facility at the beginning of April, so it can add golf to the menu of options it offers customers of its gaming, racing, and entertainment businesses.

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Scott Freeman, president and general manager of Tioga Downs, said the 99-year lease for the property demonstrated Tioga Downs’ “commitment to the area,” noting that the business plans to build a new,

$3.5 million clubhouse on the property.

“Certainly with that kind of investment, you would want it long term,” says Freeman, who spoke with CNYBJ on April 17.

Aside from its length, the company didn’t release additional terms of the lease agreement.

When asked how Tioga Downs plans to finance the clubhouse project, Freeman said the new clubhouse, casino, and hotel are under the same operating budget.

Tioga Downs pursued the lease for the golf course because it saw it as a “tremendous amenity” in its effort to become a “resort.”

The golf course had operated in Tioga County with an “over 50-year history,” but its membership “was dwindling a little bit,” according to Freeman.

“We saw it as a great joint venture to bolster the local community and also add an amenity for our players and guests,” he added.

Under the lease agreement, Tioga Recreation Association still owns the property, but Tioga Downs is the “chief tenant,” says Freeman.

The arrangement also means that Tioga Downs adds the golf course employees to its payroll. The employee count, which Freeman says totaled “under 10” includes Bob Taylor, manager of golf operations at Tioga Golf Club.

“The changes Tioga Downs is making at the club are going to raise the quality of the overall experience for guests. I’m excited to be a part of the growth and positive changes this will bring to Nichols,” Taylor said in a news release.

Clubhouse replacement
Buffalo–based LPCiminelli is handling the demolition work on the existing clubhouse and will also handle the new clubhouse construction.

“I would say within the next few weeks, we should be readying the site and doing an official groundbreaking,” says Freeman. “We’d like to have it completed by November.”

Toronto, Ontario–based Climans Green Liang Architects Inc., the same architect that designed the Tioga Downs Casino and Hotel, is designing the new clubhouse.
The new clubhouse will include a new dining location, a pro shop, locker rooms, and banquet space.

During the construction period, Tioga Golf Club will accommodate guests with a temporary structure that will house registration and check-in, a pro shop, and a section for snacks and beverages. Beverage service will also be available on the course.

The club is also getting all new E-Z Go golf carts, which will be available in the beginning of May, Tioga Downs said.

Besides the golf course, Tioga Downs says construction continues on its 161-room hotel and event center. The venue’s casino, which opened in December, includes 944 new slot machines, 23 table games, and a 12-table poker room.

 

 

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