Park Ridge development tees up for construction
By Jason Gibbs
LAS CRUCES >> Crews have lined up the first shot in what will be a drive to create Park Ridge, the largest in-fill project in Las Cruces history.
Bob Pofahl, the Las Cruces developer working to turn the 110-acre property that housed the former Las Cruces Country Club, said recent work had included clearing brush and removing trees from areas that will become roadways for the planned mixed-use, urban infill community.
The work is preparation for the first phase of the development, which will see a medical complex breaking ground this summer, Pofahl said.
The property was a golf course from 1928 until 2011 and since then, brush, grass and trees have taken over much of the property.
“We’ve got to clear the brush out for the surveyors to get in and start surveying,” he said.
While heavy equipment is not rumbling across the former golf course just yet, Pofahl said a ground breaking is tentatively set for the end of July with significant construction set to begin in August.
The clean-up and planned construction come as welcome news to city officials, especially ahead of the Fourth of July celebrations and accompanying fireworks.
“I am glad they are clearing some of the dead landscape and clearing the site of debris,” said Las Cruces City Manager Robert Garza. “This is particularly important during the upcoming Independence Day holiday when residents discharge fireworks and the associated impacts that can bring.”
Garza noted that legal challenges to the zoning change which underpins the planned development have been dismissed.
“Recently, a district court judge denied an appeal of the zoning for the proposed hospital development at that location,” Garza said. “That has cleared the path forward for the land owners to proceed with development plans.”
The sale of the 110-acre site to Park Ridge Properties for $7.1 million was agreed to by both parties in January 2014, but was contingent upon approval by the Las Cruces Planning and Zoning Commission, which came in July 2014.
While confidentiality agreements prevent developers from saying which company will be involved in development of the medical center, backers of the project said those negotiations have been ongoing since the early stages of planning.
Second and third phases of development will center on turning the site into an “urban village” that will include retail and dining; residential and multifamily housing; and parks, walking trails and open space.
The work to redevelop the parcel as in-fill has been lengthy and has been met with protests by neighboring residents. The Country Club Neighborhood Association in August 2014 made one final and unsuccessful attempt to prevent the proposed medical complex from being built. They appealed the final platting of the proposed hospital to the city, but were ultimately unsuccessful when the city upheld the P&Z decision that granted a final subdivision plan for 30.745 acres at the former country club.
The property has been rezoned high intensity commercial, C-3, which will allow Pofahl, and a group of unidentified investors, to proceed with construction.
Planned amenities including walking paths, bike trails and community gathering spaces intended to enhance the quality of life for residents in Park Ridge as well as the surrounding neighborhoods.
The investment will result in a destination for Las Cruces and the region and will feature, as a center point of the retail area, the preservation of the original club house designed by the regionally famous architect Henry Trost.