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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news December 17, 2014

1/9/2013 12:01:00 AM
Antelope Hills restaurant up for proposals for private management
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Del Price and Taylor Crittendon share a laugh and a pitcher of beer after playing a round of golf Tuesday afternoon at the Manzanita Grille in Prescott.
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Del Price and Taylor Crittendon share a laugh and a pitcher of beer after playing a round of golf Tuesday afternoon at the Manzanita Grille in Prescott.
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
The City of Prescott is considering issuing a request for proposals for a private operator of the restaurant.
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
The City of Prescott is considering issuing a request for proposals for a private operator of the restaurant.
Cindy Barks
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - In a move that officials say could bring new vitality to the Antelope Hills Golf Course, the Prescott City Council agreed this week to seek outside management for the course's restaurant and banquet operations.

Beginning on Thursday, the city will go out for proposals for private management of the golf course's Manzanita Grille Restaurant and the old clubhouse's Centennial Center.

That sets the stage for interested parties to submit proposals to the city, explaining how they would operate the restaurant and clubhouse. The proposals are due on Feb. 14, and a new operator could be on board by spring.

If the council does choose to enter a contract with an outside operator, the restaurant would be in private hands for the first time since spring 2006, when the city canceled its previous arrangement with a private operator and took over management of the restaurant.

Since then, the Manzanita Grille has been a point of controversy, with opponents questioning the city's choice to compete with private enterprise.

This past fall, a majority of council members voiced opposition to city operation of the restaurant, and asked staff members to develop a request for proposals (RFP).

While an August report to the council showed that the Manzanita Grille has been breaking even in recent years, council members were hopeful this week that the restaurant and bar could be profitable.

Mayor Marlin Kuykendall said a thriving restaurant and bar could be a boon to the golf course.

"A good food and bar operator will enhance the golf course," Kuykendall said. "I think we'll see a renewed vigor."

And Councilman Charlie Arnold suggested that revenue from the restaurant/bar/banquet operation could help to shore up the golf course, which has lost several million dollars in the past decade or so. "It will help get that enterprise fund to a break-even status," Arnold said.

Even so, some debate arose over whether severing the restaurant operations from the rest of the golf course was the best move.

"My position is the golf course is a complex," Councilman Jim Lamerson said. "I think separating the parts form the whole is a mistake."

Instead, he supported putting operation of the entire golf course out for proposals.

But others pointed out that going out for proposals for the restaurant and banquet operation did not commit the city to entering a contract.

"I'm interested in seeing what the RFP will produce," Councilman Steve Blair said. "What we're doing is going out there and putting our toe in the water."

If the RFP fails to generate satisfactory proposals, the city has a number of options open to it, said Deputy City Manager Alison Zelms. It could either go out for another round of proposals for the restaurant, or it could choose to go out for proposals for the entire golf course.

Zelms said the RFP, which was still in draft form on Tuesday, would set out the basic scope of work for a contract operator, including details such as the hours of operation and the level of necessary insurance coverage.

In addition, the document will list the basic expenses of the restaurant, with costs such as utilities being the responsibility of the contract operator.

Unlike the mid-2000s contract that had the city getting a percentage of the gross proceeds of the restaurant, the new RFP will ask interested parties to propose a flat rental fee, Zelms said.

As a part of the RFP evaluation process, the city will set up a workgroup to review the proposals.

The RFP will be available on Thursday on a number of sites, including the city's website, www.cityofprescott.net.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, January 11, 2013
Article comment by: TWO SHARE A BEER

And PAR for the course --- the rest of the dive is empty ..

Posted: Friday, January 11, 2013
Article comment by: @ Richard Trandon

They didn't GET IT then -- they don't GET IT now -- and by their own actions will never GET IT ... I know first hand pre Norwood WAS a group of just do it management . Watching flounder Norwood destroy it, and watching his lackies continue to bring it to it's knees was and still is heartbreaking . It seems the only true winners are the takers and moochers left behind . Nowhere else in Prescott would give them the FREE RIDE city leaders have . The private sector would never tolerate this kind of destruction,and just plain stupidity. If a business or it's management is so weak as to NEVER excel -- quickly change out the entire management . If profit is still nonexistent repete the process, or stop the flow of taxpayer dollars . One would never want as you say to patronise the AH money pit, doing so only helps to deteriorate an already weak economy . Taxpayer dollars need to go to areas that benefit the whole . Why ? this simple task has gone on year after year, is only proof city leaders are of an even weaker mind and body .

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: To Jim Lamerson

"I think separating the parts from the whole is a mistake." Being a long time Prescott resident, do you realize how the courses operated pre-Norwood? the City never ran the restaurant, it was always an outside vendor. As I recall, both were very successful. Then Norwood/Parker come in and they seemed to push the City into the restaurant scene. Won't mention the $200,000.00 hit to the last vendor. All of this is why I haven't played much at AH in recent years. Point is--it was successful, and still can be.
Richard Trandone

Posted: Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Article comment by: NEVER GONNA HAPPEN

NO amount of dollars brought in by a well run restaurant/bar, can offset the high wages and poor work habits of the current operators. A private sector operation would do well, and the operation did just that prior to the Norwood destruction.

Posted: Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

They're wasting their time. The restaurant and bar are fine as they are. 90+% of the business are golfers and the rest live nearby. They have some golf tournaments with lunch. Almost every similar 36 hole facitity has a restaurant/bar. Why they have to farm it out to someone else is beyond me. It's not gonna make much money and it's not gonna lose much money no matter who operates it.

Posted: Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Article comment by: Jim Edmiston

Congratulations to the Mayor and the Council for taking this first step ! Best wishes for success !

Posted: Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Article comment by: EASY COME EASY GO

The outdoor tables and chairs don't look as good as they cost the taxpayer's of prescott . Are they going with the sale if any, or will they be given to the homeowners like last time ? Council and major need not reply if the obscene cost is still an embarrassment .

Posted: Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Article comment by: The Tev

Me, I am all for this. Spending the afternoon catching a beer buzz while reading about the outrage of a vote that's being ignored. Meanwhile, as or county attorney struggles with the advice of todays Tom Steele, I'm wondering why all these successful business investors would take the chance of playing this obsolete game on a public course.

Posted: Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Article comment by: Finally !

It's about time. Now follow through and DO IT! T

Posted: Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Article comment by: Taylor You

Never looked so good!

Posted: Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Article comment by: TAXPAYER NIGHTMARE

This is a move that is to little and much too late . The entire Norwood mentality should have been let go along with the sub par city manager . Now that the muni is four million and counting in the hole, city leaders (HA HA) find it is time to do their job . TOO LATE .

Posted: Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Steele

Government should not be in business or telling business what it must do to comply with their rules. Since this property is all owned by the city of Prescott, they must put any operator under contract. However, to allow an operator to market and run the facility the city should ask only for all costs to be covered and perhaps a small percentage of any profits to be returned. The economy is still shaky and restaurants are not flourishing in the best locations let alone where the golf course is located. Give the new operator a break and don't get greedy with a profit off the top. Let a good operator make a profit first.

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