By Dan Hust
FREMONT CENTER January 10, 2003 A basic Town of Fremont reorganization meeting Wednesday night turned into a sneak peek at a large-scale and upscale housing development planned for Tennanah Lake.
B. Elton Harris of Roscoe and Bob Schwartz of New York City, partners in a venture to build an $85 million, seven-story hotel on the site of the old Campbell Inn in Roscoe, stopped by the town hall in Fremont Center that evening to clarify the plans they and the Grauman Group have for the Tennanah Lake Golf and Tennis Club.
According to Schwartz, the Grauman Group, a development firm owned by Toby Grauman of New York City, is preparing to close on the $8 million sale of the golf course and approximately 900 surrounding acres, including nearby Lake Florence and a portion of the shoreline of Tennanah Lake itself. The property is currently owned by a group called Safeco and has been up for sale for several years.
Schwartz told the board that Grauman is planning to build $450,000-$1.5 million homes around the course, Lake Florence and on Tennanah Lakes shore.
Schwartz, however, is not involved in the housing development itself his venture, the Regent Resort and Spa in Roscoe, wants to create another corporation that would have a 50 percent interest in the golf course only. The deal, said Schwartz, would guarantee 15,000 rounds of golf per year thanks to the hotel (about three miles northeast of the golf course) and would allow Schwartz to work with an upscale hotel chain called Regent that would insert the term resort in the hotels moniker.
Without such a deal, Schwartz indicated both projects would be diminished, since Grauman might lose several thousand potential rounds of golf and Schwartz could only name his facility a hotel, not a resort and might lose Regent altogether.
The hotel itself, announced as an 11-story structure in the spring of 2001, would feature spas, horseriding, cross-country skiing, and luxury amenities for between $500 and $1,500 a night. Due to local concerns, the structure has since been downgraded to seven stories, but Schwartz said a level piece of land behind the hotels lake might be used for additional facilities.
But thats all in the Town of Rockland. The Tennanah Lake Golf and Tennis Club, however, is in the Town of Fremont, and Schwartz told the Fremont board his two reasons for attending the meeting Wednesday.
The Grauman Group will be projecting a very high-level, quality project, he explained, attempting to allay concerns by Tennanah Lake residents that Grauman, an Orthodox Jew, was considering a tax-exempt facility (which he is not, said Schwartz).
But of more pressing concern to Schwartz and company is the fact that former Tennanah Lake Golf and Tennis Club owner Bob Frankel reportedly plans to hang on to 12 acres and a house near the first tee of the golf course.
Saying talks with Frankel had yielded no firm agreements, Schwartz asked the town and planning board to do what they could to ensure that Frankel or any other future owner of the property comply with the aesthetics and atmosphere of the surrounding area. Otherwise, warned Schwartz, the developers might abandon their purchase of the entire site.
The board did not respond, and Planning Board Chair Leonard Bauer later said that the Grauman Group had yet to present board members with any site plans.
Frankel could not be reached for comment.
Schwartz also detailed some of the plans for the golf course, saying an architect had been hired to make the PGA course more difficult and a new clubhouse would be constructed.
Responding to residents concerns, Schwartz added that the course would be open to the public, though the fees would be more expensive and development homeowners would be given first crack at memberships.
After the meeting, Schwartz said that, although Regent is an international hotel chain that is interested in expanding into the U.S. market, his hotel plan is on hold until the national economic outlook brightens.