Jeff Smith noon, March 8
Borrego's Problems Keep Mounting
Psst...want a golf course? Free? In late May, Encinitas-based Geyser Holdings closed escrow on the 3100-acre Montesoro housing project in Borrego Springs for a low but unannounced price. Geyser expected to sell the golf course; it didn't happen. At one point, Geyser floated the idea of putting vineyards at the site. But there isn't sufficient water. "Every expert says without water it's prohibitive to run the golf course," says Linda Haddock of the local chamber of commerce. The vineyard idea never got off the ground. Now Geyser will give the course to someone who would operate it, says Rick Vesci, who is handling sales at Montesoro (formerly Rams Hill). Golf equipment is being sold and the clubhouse is on the market.
Geyser wanted to sell 140 finished lots at Montesoro to locals at 65% discounts, but there weren't sales and the program didn't last. Geyser was hoping that as the lots sold, back taxes and delinquent homeowner association fees would be paid. That hasn't happened, although Geyser paid some of the taxes. According to Vesci, Geyser attempted to buy bonds to satisfy bondholders, but no deal has been made yet. Vesci doubts that bondholders are ready to foreclose on properties.
"Everything is in the context of the current economy," says Vesci. "Real estate is just not selling." However, he says there is interest among potential purchasers, including some looking at the nearby Borrego Ranch Resort & Spa, formerly named Casa del Zorro. A buyer of the ranch might want the golf course. All told, however, many of the proposals are of the "Hail Mary" variety, says Haddock. I was not able to reach Russell Geyser, head of Geyser Holdings.
More like this:
- Golf is in the rough — June 5, 2013
- Borrego: one resort for sale, two big properties in escrow — Jan. 14, 2013
- In Borrego, Prices Are Low, Anyway — May 30, 2012
- Borrego: Flipsville Seeks a Savior — June 29, 2011
- A Town Left Dry — Feb. 10, 2010