Sonoma Ranch Partners regained ownership of the Las Cruces, N.M., golf course after it was operated by Las Cruces Country Club for the past 13 months. Financial terms and details about the transfer of ownership were not disclosed, though the owner is planning a facelift of the golf course beginning January 4 that will close the course for about a month.
Sonoma Ranch Partners regained ownership of Sonoma Ranch Golf Course last week, after the Las Cruces, N.M., golf course was owned and operated by the Las Cruces Country Club for the past 13 months. The change of ownership was announced in a press release issued by Sonoma Ranch Partners on December 17, the Las Cruces (N.M.) Sun-News reported.
“Justin Dahrling, previous manager of Sonoma Ranch Golf Course, will serve as the executive assistant to the Partners during the transition process,” said a portion of the press release, that came from Vivian Steinborn, the widow of former Las Cruces mayor David Steinborn, who founded Sonoma Ranch Golf Course. “(Dahrling) will continue on, as a consultant, after the transition.
A facelift of the golf course will begin January 4. That renovation will close the course for about a month, the Sun-News reported.
“The beginning of February, we plan to be open and accepting tee time reservations,” Steinborn’s press release said. It will return to its status as a completely public golf course when it reopens, the Sun-News reported.
Financial terms and other details about the transfer of ownership were not disclosed. Steinborn said there would be no word from the new owners about terms and conditions of the transaction, and Bonnie Naden, president of the country club’s board of directors, only offered a “no comment” about any details of the ownership switch, the Sun-News reported.
Current country club members did not return phone calls from the Sun-News seeking reactions and comments about the abrupt change. Some former country club members also declined to speak publicly, citing a lack of all details. But City Manager Robert Garza said there appears to be a buzz among Las Crucens, particularly golf enthusiasts, about the ownership change, the Sun-News reported.
“There is a lot of chatter and rumor about this situation, but we are not privy to the details of these private transactions,” Garza said.
But Garza added there remains an unpaid water bill owed to the city for the golf course. “I don’t have the exact amount, nor details on the aging of the account and over what period of time,” he said. “When we do have large outstanding debts, it is very common that we file liens on property to ensure eventual payment.”
But the water bill owed to the city hasn’t prompted city officials to file a property lien against the golf course. “I am not aware of any other debt owed to the city for that property.”
Questions remain about the sudden change of the golf course’s ownership and how that might affect proposed future development of 110 acres of the former Las Cruces Country Club. There has been some speculation—but no confirmation from either of the parties involved in the sale—the entire payment of the $7.1 million sale of the property may not have been finalized. Bob Pofahl, who has plans to redevelop the 115 acres of the former country club into a mixed-use “urban community” did not immediately return calls to Sun-News about the project.
Redevelopment plans include a hospital and ancillary medical services; a wellness, fitness and rehabilitation center; a continuum of care retirement center; residential and retirement housing; a retail center; and open spaces, parks and walking trails. But legal challenges about rezoning of the property have delayed the start of construction for the project. The sale of the property has been contingent upon final rezoning being granted, the Sun-News reported.
“We have not issued (construction) permits on the new hospital property,” said Garza, of the proposed first phase of the project, to develop 30.745 at the former country club property into a medical campus. “When permits are issued, they must list the property owner and we will certainly pay attention to that issue in this case.”