BY ROB MCCORKLE
For the Bulletin
LAS CRUCES – Barring an unforeseen development, it appears the perseverance of the current owners and members of Picacho Hills Country Club to avoid the fate of shuttered Las Cruces and Santa Teresa country clubs has paid off.
During three meetings Tuesday at the westside country club, the co-owners of Southwest Golf Management, LLC, outlined their plans to purchase the country club from the Biad brothers, revamp the membership structure and make improvements to the clubhouse, golf course and other facilities. Partners Jim Bellows and Todd Barranger made a Power Point presentation and answered questions from club members and area residents.
The country club’s suitors, headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, said they have been looking into the purchase of the property for about eight months. Southwest Golf Management owns eight public and private golf courses in Arizona and California.
“We’ve done due diligence and spent about $80,000, so we’re pretty comfortable with where we are,” Bellows said. “We still have to get a full-service liquor license but have gone through the whole process of seller finalizing and at this point I don’t think there’s any reason why there won’t be a closing.”
Bellows says his company has identified a willing seller of a full-service New Mexico liquor license but noted it could take several months to finalize purchase of the license that could cost as much as $400,000. That revenue represents a significant portion of the $1.3 million that Southwest Golf Management projects it will raise from new membership initiation fees for renovations and improvements to the clubhouse and golf maintenance building. The approximate closing date is slated to be shortly after receipt of the new liquor license, which the potential new owners anticipate will be by the end of May.
Funds from new membership sales and conversions will be placed in an escrow account. Country club members will have the option of converting to the new transferable membership and paying an initiation fee or retaining their fee-free current membership that would be non-transferable.
Don and Luis Biad put the 167-acre country club, which opened in 1978, on the market for $3.2 million almost two years ago, but couldn’t find a qualified buyer. They formed a committee to gauge community support for Picacho Hills property owners purchasing and operating the property. More than two-thirds of the property owners expressed an interest in taking over the club last year and 146 residents raised $50,000 to hire a lawyer to begin drafting by-laws. That effort was placed on hold last fall when a potential buyer stepped forward. Country club membership has remained at roughly 400.
“It hasn’t been an overly complicated deal,” Don Biad told almost100 people who attended Tuesday’s 11 a.m. presentation, “but there’s been some due diligence work that needed to be done. But it’s all come together and we’re at the last stage of the puzzle, which is community support to bridge the gap.”
During a Q-and-A session, Biad said he plans to remain a member of the country club.
“We want this to be the focal point of the community,” he said. “We want this to be a great gathering place that’s profitable for the new owners, but also a place that we can come to enjoy.”
As they exited, meeting attendees were encouraged to pick up a Pre-Membership Agreement offering a 10 percent discount in initiation fees available through April 1. Those fees range from $1,000 for a Social Clubhouse Membership to $4,500 for a Full Family Golf & Club membership. Golf memberships will be limited to between 420 and 450 under Southwest Golf Management’s guidelines. Memberships are available to non-residents as well as Picacho Hills property owners.
More information is available by calling Southwest Golf Management at 480-668-3086.