Success Story: Community House
Kelley Brooke is not one to shy away from a challenge. Whether she’s improving a golf swing, or revitalizing a nearly-shuttered business, Kelley has built a career on overcoming adversity to leave a positive and lasting impact on those around her. After making her mark as a sought-after instructor and on-air personality with the Golf Channel, in 2003 she took a leap and bid on the rights to run a golf center in New York City—and won.
Soon after, Kelley acquired the rights to two additional golf centers, including Alley Pond in Queens (the busiest golf center in the country at the time) and Randall’s Island Golf Center. At the latter, she transformed a distressed building into a premier entertainment venue and expanded revenue sources beyond golf by including a beer garden and concessions.
Her experience restoring a struggling business and running food service operations led her to her most recent venture: assuming a 125 year old restaurant space in The Rockaways, an area that had been ravaged by Superstorm Sandy just four years prior. “A full service restaurant is definitely different than a beer garden and a golf range, but hospitality is hospitality,” says Kelley.
The restaurant, called Community House, was a daunting project from the start: the 12,500 foot restaurant needed extensive repairs due to the storm and a gut renovation. Additionally, the space needed to be fully outfitted with equipment, furniture, and fixtures. After hearing about NYBDC through friends, it was the first place Kelley turned to for financial assistance and guidance. NYBDC and affiliates provided Kelley with $2.6 million in financing which contributed to the majority of the funds needed for the project. Community House is now a sought after destination in an up and coming area, and has created 30 new jobs.
“NYBDC was not just a lender but a partner,” says Kelley, reflecting on her experience working with NYBDC as a first-time commercial property buyer. “They listened to me, explained things simply and advised me with the best course of action, while also putting me in contact with other professionals who may be able to offer additional help. It has been a wonderful relationship.”