By Jason Gibbs
Originally posted by The Las Cruces Sun-New: 07/21/2014 01:00:00 AM MDT
LAS CRUCES >> More than a year and a half after the sale of the Las Cruces Country Club property was agreed upon, a decision Tuesday could set in motion a series of land deals and a flurry of preparation that could see dirt being moved before the end of the year.
The sale of the 110-acre site to Park Ridge Properties for $7.1 million was agreed to by both parties in January, but is contingent upon approval at a hearing Tuesday by the Las Cruces Planning and Zoning Commission. Should the committee request changes, the approval could be delayed. Developers, however, believe the material is complete and well-considered.
“We’re going for the final plat approval, the subdivision concept plan,” said Bob Pofahl, president of Park Ridge Properties.
Should P&Z approve the plat, that would trigger the sales agreements, with the Las Cruces Country Club handing over the property to Park Ridge Properties. That, in turn would spark a deal in which the country club would acquire the Sonoma Ranch Golf Course to house its organization, said Robert Caldwell, president of the Las Cruces Country Club board of directors.
That deal, too, has been inked and awaits the sale of the existing country club property to move forward.
“That is very important and vital to us as a country club,” Caldwell said. “We have a pretty good relationship with (Sonoma Ranch). It’s a public golf course and restaurant and will be open to the public until we purchase it. We think we are doing well.”
For Park Ridge, the next step after the subdivision plan approval will be to begin construction drawings for streets and other infrastructure as well as going through the approval and permitting process for those plans, which could be ready in two to three months, Pofahl said.
“It’s a process, but we think we’ve walked through everything carefully and cautiously,” he said. “We’re looking forward to getting the project moving forward.”
If everything goes well with permitting, streets and roads could be under development in 90 to 120 days, he said.
Following that, the first phase of development will focus on the construction of a medical campus with a 42-bed hospital, a combination rehabilitation and fitness center, doctors’ offices and an assisted living center.
Second and third phases of development will center on turning the 110-acre site into an “urban village” that will include retail and dining, residential and multifamily housing, and parks, walking trails and open space. Redevelopment of the property, which was a golf course from 1928 until 2011, will be the largest in-fill project in Las Cruces’ history.
In November 2012, the country club’s 110 acres were conditionally sold to the group of local and regional investors, led by Pofahl.
“Las Cruces Country Club and Park Ridge Properties have, over the past two years, coordinated with the city of Las Cruces to manage re-development of the old course,” said a portion of a news release announcing the sale of the former country club property at that time.
In August, 2013, the Las Cruces City Council approved rezoning 30 acres of the property so the medical campus could be built. At that time, Pofahl told the council the sale of the property was contingent on rezoning approval.
On Jan. 10, a subdivision application on the proposed 30-acre development was submitted to the city’s Community Development Department. The application and an accompanying 71-page traffic impact analysis have been reviewed by several city departments, as well as the Mesilla Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization and the New Mexico Department of Transportation.
A planned urban development application would be submitted to the Community Development Department when Pofahl and developers are ready to begin redeveloping the remaining 80 acres of the property.
Residential development could begin in 24 to 36 months, Pofahl said. Construction on the medical center could begin by the end of this year.