Rountree seeks Obici help

Published 8:47 pm Tuesday, February 2, 2010

As discussions continue on amendments to the lease that would govern the arrangement, Sleepy Hole Golf Course operator Ronnie Rountree has begun looking for help with the newest part of his project there — restoring historic Obici House.

Rountree has been meeting with architects and soliciting interest from potential subcontractors since the Suffolk City Council agreed Jan. 20 to accept his proposal to add Obici House to the lease under which he operates and will make improvements to the golf course.

Once the home of Louise and Amedeo Obici, the historic Italianate mansion has been at the heart of a controversy for most of a year, as citizens banded together to get the City Council to make a public commitment to saving it from further deterioration.

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Sitting on the Sleepy Hole Golf Course, adjacent to the 18th green, the home has been allowed to languish for years and faces extensive renovations before it could be put back to use.

“I’m going to see what we need to do with the structure, see what’s in our best interest,” Rountree said Tuesday, adding that he planned to meet with an architect today to get some further input on what it will take to bring the structure back into shape.

“We’ve been talking about it for a while,” he added.

In fact, according to, a construction industry Web site that tracks potential and planned construction projects for contractors, Rountree’s company Rountree Construction Co., began soliciting interest in a conceptual project last June.

The listing shows that the project was updated Jan. 29. It now includes an estimated start date for the project — February 2011 — and a general description of the work planned — “renovation of an existing mansion and the construction of a new community center.”

Rountree provided few details about the proposal he had presented to the city, but did acknowledge his plans for improvements at the golf course had changed.

His previous plan included construction of a new maintenance facility, a clubhouse and a cart storage area.

But he stressed that things are still fluid concerning his plans for the mansion and the golf course buildings.

“We’re still in the negotiation stage with the city,” he said. “Until we finalize things, I’d rather not say too much about it.”