The aging club house at West Palm Beach’s municipal golf course will be shut down by the end of next week, the city said Thursday.
Over the next month, golf operations will be moved to a portable building, with restrooms available in the golf cart garage, and the club house’s Bradley’s Hole-in-One restaurant will close.
Bradley’s will be moved to a “snack shack” structure near the club house, Mayor Jeri Muoio said.
But Bradley’s manager Mitch Reale said the move could force him to shut his operation at the golf course, behind Forest Hill High School, just east of Interstate 95.
“It’s 10 by 10 feet,” he said of the snack shack. “It’s got no kitchen. It’s got a hot dog machine, sodas, things like that. That’s a one-person job, and quite honestly, your revenues are done. I have 15 to 20 waiters, cooks, busboys. What am I going to do with them?”
Muoio made the golf course announcement Thursday at the end of a budget workshop. She said she was persuaded to immediately close the building after Palm Beach County Health Department inspectors visited it Wednesday.
“We just feel it’s putting us in a questionable position to keep that open,” Muoio said.
The clubhouse, constructed around 1947, leaks and has problems with lead, termites, asbestos and mold, the city says.
The 24-by-60-foot portable building will cost the city $35,000 to set up and $900 a month to rent. Money will come from a golf course reserve. The golf course has a budget separate from the city’s general fund and is operated by a management firm.
South end residents had urged the city not to close the clubhouse because it is used for community events and Bradley’s is a popular gathering place.
The city is now studying the feasibility of repairing and renovating the old building, a decision made by the commission Monday. In mid-July, commissioners heard a new permanent clubhouse could cost up to $4.5 million and take three to four years to build, and just getting the current building up to code could cost as much as $542,000.
The board also has previously discussed spending $250,000 to raze the structure and $300,000 to replace it with a modular building that could last a dozen years or more.
Muoio said the city’s lease allows it to force Bradley’s to move. Bradley’s pays $1,400 a month in rent.
Reale said he’s talked to lawyers about possibly filing an injunction.
“I don’t see the transparency here,” he said of the city’s sudden action. “I’ve got my wife crying. My kids crying. Bartenders. Servers. It’s a travesty.”
Reale also said the immediacy of health concerns was news to him.
“I’m in there 85 hours a week,” he said. He said one employee complained of headaches and coughs.
Health department spokesman Tim O’Connor said his indoor-air inspectors hadn’t yet written up their findings, so he couldn’t provide details, except to say the club house “was in poor repair.” A city hall source familiar with the health department visit said equipment used to measure mold showed maximum readings.