Regional
12:44 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Las Cruces Country Club Rezoning: A Closer Look

Connie Potter and Robert Pofahl have their differences when it comes to the future of the dead trees and brown grass still known as the Las Cruces Country Club.

“So our lives and our property values are gonna be tremendously affected by what decisions are made here.”

Potter sits in the living room of her well-appointed home that looks out over desert drive. Her property is on the edge of the land Robert Pofahl’s company wants to develop.

“From R1 a residential to high density commercial, Bam. Parking lots, cars 24 hours a day, and you need to realize a hospital operates 24/7. We will have ambulances coming up our street. Lights and sirens 24 hours a day.”

Across town, Robert Pofahl is in his office in Picacho Hills, a much newer luxury golf course community with a thriving golf course.

“My father had a lot of rental property and when we were kids, you went to school, played sports or worked on his property. And so we started pouring concrete and building homes when we were in high school.”

Fast forward to today. Pofahl is the founder and developer of Picacho Hills. Before that, he built more than two dozen hotels.

Potter earned an RN and MBA and spent a career managing trauma centers across the country.

They’re both the very image of successful baby boomers, and just like many boomers today, they’re still in the game, calling the shots.

Again, Bob Pofahl…

“We drove the trends in housing and suburban development….auto industry…now that we’re aging we’re changing healthcare…we want it to be convenient and  less expensive and more accessible in the community.”

The idea for the hospital came to Pofahl before the land. Of any potential ideas for development, his company looked at the numbers. He was confident.

“We were sure this didn’t economically make sense as a country club ever again.”

Why a hospital instead of, say, a large shopping center? In the real estate business, a good tenant is a long tenant.

“It’s probably going to be a 20-year lease.”

Also in the neighborhood is John Stevens, president of the country club neighborhood association.

Stevens knew the course would eventually close. He  petitioned the city to make it a park 7 years ago. They said no.

“But we’d like to see a development with more open space, green space…this development is 110 acres of complete infill.”

The last point of contention is to realign Madrid Avenue.

“This is the one we’re talking about right here. It just clips a little corner right here.”

“The developer has said he’ll allow 40 feet of green space. Well, 40 feet is not very big….that’s 80 feet from the closest building to our house. To go from residential to C-3 commercial in one big jump is ridiculous.”

That decision will come down to the city of Las Cruces in a vote.

Whatever happens, John Stevens tells me, this is home.

“We love it; we bought it there 13 years ago for retirement. It’s paid for. We’re comfortable. Used to have a beautiful view. Yeah we’ll stay.”