ESCONDIDO — The ongoing saga of the Escondido Country Club has taken a new turn.
The owner of the former Escondido Country Club on Monday said New Urban West, Inc. was chosen from a field of 18 builders and developers to develop the site located in northwest Escondido.
“At the urging of many in Escondido, we’re giving New Urban West the first opportunity to determine whether they want to move forward with developing the property,” said Michael Schlesinger, president of Stuck in the Rough, LLC, the firm that purchased the property out of foreclosure in December 2012.
Last March, a California Superior Court judge ruled an Escondido City Council action in August 2013 to rezone the property as permanent open space was illegal. Since the ruling, the city has restored the residential zoning to the property as part of an agreement to settle all legal claims. The R-1-7 zoning allows up to 5.5 dwelling units per acre, or 600 units for the 109-acre site.
The settlement agreement also restricts Schlesinger from taking part in the planning or development of the property; a condition he plans to comply with fully, he said.
“If they plan to go forward after a short due-diligence period, New Urban West will have a clean slate and the sole control in designing and developing the project,” Schlesinger added.
Should New Urban West choose not to proceed, Schlesinger said the site will be offered to other builders.
“The property remains an attractive opportunity for builders and developers who are encouraged by market conditions in the area as well the allowable units that could be developed on the site,” he said.
Stuck in the Rough, which is owned by developer Michael Schlesinger, announced plans to build more than 600 homes at the club after buying the land in December 2012. The latest proposal aimed to construct 270 residences, but came with strong pushback from the Escondido Country Club Homeowners (ECCHO) asking the council to declare the course an open space.
The San Diego County Air Pollution Control District fined the developer $100,000 in September 2014 after spreading about five tons of chicken manure on the course.