A proposal for the Phoenix property would have redeveloped the 18-hole golf course into a nine-hole attraction with additional houses, but residents opposed the plan. “Because of Vice Mayor Gallego’s candor and leadership, the owners realize how special and important The Raven is to the fabric of the community,” the lawyer of property owner Arcis Equity said.
Six months after the owners of Raven Golf Club in Phoenix, Ariz., first contemplated building houses on the 18-hole golf course that residents and neighbors consider a historic landmark in their community, the proposal has been dropped, the Phoenix-based South Mountain District News reported.
In late July, an attorney for the owners confirmed they are no longer pursuing redeveloping the property into a nine-hole attraction and building additional houses, the News reported.
“After much discussion with Vice Mayor (Kate) Gallego, the owners have decided not to alter the golf course in any way,” said Jordan Rose, an attorney with Scottsdale-based Rose Law Group, who represents the owners. “They very much appreciated Vice Mayor Gallego’s candor with respect to the wishes of her constituents and their desire to see the 18-hole Raven course remain as it is today.”
Gallego met with residents and echoed their position that the golf course is important to the area economically and culturally, the News reported.
“When I first heard the news about the plans to redevelop The Raven, I was concerned and immediately reached out to neighbors from the surrounding communities to seek out their feedback,” Gallego said. “What I heard was overwhelming—The Raven is an important community asset and much-beloved recreation destination in our South Mountain community. I couldn’t be happier to hear that all sides came together to protect this South Mountain treasure, and I want to thank the owners and congratulate the neighbors on this win for our community.”
Melanie McClintock, chairman of Save The Raven, was cautiously ecstatic about the news. “We’ve dodged the bullet this time, but we’ve got expect that it will come around again and we need to be prepared to get re-organized and ready to fight it again.”
McClintock, a 14-year resident of Ravenswood, said her group’s goal was to show the cultural, historical and economic importance of The Raven in the South Phoenix community, the News reported.
“When I first got involved I knew we were taking on a strong advocate,” she said. “We said this could become a really long drawn-out, tedious fight. No one can believe it’s over in six months. We really thought it would go much further.”
In the spring of this year, golf course owners Arcis Equity Partners of Texas and their New Jersey-based partners, Ridgewood Real Estate Partners, listed The Raven as one of several properties nationwide under review for potential redevelopment. Representatives from Arcis, Ridgewood and their law firm, began meeting with residents about using the RE-35 residential zoning to build 1-2 houses per acre on what is now a 164-acre golf course with 6,000 trees dotting the green space, the News reported.
Residents strongly objected at the meetings and a new proposal was created that would have reduced the course to 9 holes, while keeping most of the golf course views for homeowners and allowing for additional housing to be built. Residents still objected and enlisted help from other community leaders, including Gallego and former City Councilman Cody Williams, the News reported.
With so many voices raised in unison against changes at The Raven, Rose said the owners decided against moving forward. “Because of Vice Mayor Gallego’s candor and leadership, the owners realize how special and important The Raven is to the fabric of the community,” she said.
McClintock said that as other golf courses and green spaces come under pressure by developers, she hopes residents can see how a unified community and prevent or evoke change, the News reported.
“It’s the power of the community. We hadn’t formerly retained a lawyer yet. It was just our grass roots effort. We fought pretty smart,” McClintock said. “I learned a lot of things going through the process.”