Bob Gallagher, one of two local businessmen who have been seeking for months to buy the ailing Chamisa Hills Golf Course and Country Club in Rio Rancho, says they are ready to sign the deal on Thursday for an undisclosed price.
Gallagher said he and business partner Jhett Browne, owner of the Farmers Markets in Albuquerque, will place the club into a corporation called Club Rio Rancho and begin operations on Thursday.
The current owner Harry Apodaca put the property on the market last May via an online auction asking a minimum bid of $850,000 but got no offers. The 27-hole facility has a clubhouse with banquet room, liquor license, swimming pool and tennis courts.
Apodaca said he had been losing money and an impending water rate increase was a key factor in his decision to sell. Chamisa currently gets recycled water from the city for 47 cents per 1,000 gallon under a contract that expires June 30. The rate is scheduled to jump to $3.28 per 1,000 gallons on July 1.
Browne and Gallagher have asked the city to consider a development agreement through which they would commit to creating 50 jobs with an annual payroll of $1.1 million, investing $1 million to refurbish 18 of the 27 holes with water-thrifty landscaping and have the course open to the public for limited weekday and weekend hours.
They have formed a company called Sweet Success LLC for the golf club project.
The city’s commitment under the proposed development agreement would be to:
• Supply recycled water at 20 percent of the potable rate in effect on June 30, 2014, or 99 cents per 1,000 gallons, for three years.
• Lease Sweet Success up to 500 acre-feet of water rights for producing potable water at $648 per acre-foot of water produced per calendar year.
• Sell a city well to the golf course venture.
The agreement contains clawback provisions wherein Sweet Success would have to repay the city a portion of the shortfall if it fails to meet its commitments.
Browne and Gallagher have discussed the agreement with city staff. City councilors also discussed the agreement at a closed door meeting on April 21.
“We are confident based on our discussions with council and city staff that they will pass the development agreement,” Gallagher said.
Under the worst case scenario, if the city doesn’t approve the agreement and water rates jump to $3.28 per 1,000 gallons on July 1, Gallagher said they would consider selling the property to a developer.