The on-again off-again Trump on the Ocean project, Donald Trump’s proposed waterfront restaurant and catering facility at Jones Beach State Park, is off again, following the aftermath of super storm Sandy.
“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,” said Donald Trump 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.”
The location of the project, which was proposed to include construction of a two-story building totaling 86,000 square feet, formal terraces and landscaping, and visitor parking, was entirely flooded and experienced battering waves during super storm Sandy as well as during Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, according to the Parks department.
“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.”
Harvey says the adjacent Jones Beach central mall area experienced tens of millions of dollars of damage to its boardwalk and park buildings.
Six weeks after the storm, the immediate area remains closed to the public, and Harvey says it will remain closed for many months until State Parks completes repairs to damaged structures and utilities.
The site of the proposed project had been fenced off from public view by a construction fence for a number of years. The fence was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Harvey says State Parks will remove debris and clean up the site and after the damage has been repaired, the agency will initiate a planning process to determine the best future use of the area next year.
Trump and New York State parks officials reached an agreement in late June for the project, bringing an end to a five-year legal battle between Trump and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
The fight included several lawsuits in the high-profile feud, which stalled Trump’s plans to build a catering hall at the Center Mall boardwalk at the popular beach.
For years, both sides argued over a basement that Trump wanted to build at the site. The state said it couldn’t be done because it is in a flood zone.
Under the agreement, the facility would have had a downsized basement, only to be used for storage use, officials said in June.