The long planned Trump on the Ocean project at Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh has been scrapped.
Famed real estate develop Donald Trump and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced Wednesday that as a result of damages to Jones Beach caused by Hurricane Sandy, the proposed restaurant and catering facility will not be built.
The Trump development, which was held up in litigation from 2008-2012 due to a state objection to plans for a basement in a flood zone before being given a green light to proceed last June, was to be built where the Boardwalk Café formerly operated before closing in 2003.
State officials said the location of the planned two-story building totaling 86,000 square feet along with visitor parking “was entirely flooded and experienced battering waves” during the Oct. 29 superstorm.
“Because of the great tragedy of Hurricane Sandy, which has been incredibly devastating to Long Island as a whole, and Jones Beach in particular, we have mutually decided that it is an inappropriate time to build a luxury restaurant and banquet facility at Jones Beach,” Trump said in a statement. “This was a difficult decision for me to make as The Trump Organization was ready, willing and able to build and commence construction next year.”
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“Hurricane Sandy has opened everyone’s eyes to the potential risks of building directly on the oceanfront,” said New York State Commissioner Rose Harvey in a statement Wednesday. “Looking over the coming decades, as we face sea level rise and the threat of future damaging storms, we have concluded that building a major new facility directly on the oceanfront, on the scale of the Trump project, is not prudent policy. While I appreciate Donald Trump’s long-standing commitment to this initiative, we have jointly decided to end consideration of the project.”
Trump had planned to invest more than $24 million in private funds to develop the project , which he first conceived in 2006. He was also due to make rent payments totaling around $13 million throughout a 40-year lease that would have been used to help maintain Jones Beach and other state parks.
Wednesday's announcement of Trump on the Ocean being dead was welcomed news to longtime Nassau County activist Patricia Friedman of Garden City Park, who was a staunch opponent of project. Friedman said she hopes a family-style restaurant will now be built at the site.
“God works in strange places," said Friedman of how Hurricane Sandy led to the ultimate scrapping of the catering hall. "It took Sandy to wake them up."
Harvey said that State Parks workers will remove debris and clean up the site where Trump had planned to build his new business. She said in 2013 after millions in damages throughout Jones Beach has been addressed, "the State Parks agency will initiate a planning process to determine the best future use of the area.”