Don Bauder 12:30 p.m., Sept. 18
Copley's Former Casa del Zorro, Financially Troubled, for Sale Again
Borrego Ranch Resort & Spa of Borrego Springs, formerly called La Casa del Zorro Desert Resort and owned by Copley Press, is back on the market again, and draining funds. Copley, which had owned it since 1960, put it on the market in December of 2007, and it was bought by GH Capital of Sherman Oaks at a reportedly very low price. GH at that time was trying to rehabilitate the long-troubled Rams Hill development, including golf course and homes, adjacent to the resort. GH remodeled the Casa resort and reopened it in the summer of last year under the new name of Borrego Ranch Resort & Spa. The name of Rams Hill, which has been through bankruptcy twice, was changed to Montesoro Golf & Social Club. But the financial partners backing Montesoro have listed the assets for sale and are alternatively trying to recruit new investors, says the Borrego Sun newspaper, which was also sold by Copley in its liquidation phase. Operating partner Greg Perlman told the paper that while the ranch and Montesoro are separate entities, any potential buyer or investor would "inevitably see the potential in keeping the two properties linked. The hotel will be a driver for the success of Montesoro down the road, but not in this [bad real estate] market." Perlman said, "Hotel occupancy is not covering the costs but that seems to be picking up." Montesoro is having difficulty selling homes.