The saga over the Escondido Country Club is moving toward a close.
On April 26, New Urban West Inc. began demolition of the club in preparation for its impending residential development. NUWI said it received permission from property owner Michael Schlesinger to raze the dilapidated building, which was destroyed in a November 2017 fire.
Last fall, the Escondido City Council approved NUWI’s plan to develop the property with 380 units, a $10 million clubhouse with a restaurant, bar, pool and banquet facilities, and a 29-mile greenbelt. In all, 44 percent of the property will be preserved as open space.
The clubhouse, along with the adjoining golf course, was closed in 2013 due to poor financial performance.
A long battle over the property and Schlesinger and its development has been a source of contention with some residents. Several years ago, a group of residents formed the Escondido Country Club Homeowners to fight against several plans to redevelop the area.
“While we have yet to take ownership of the property, we want to help the community move beyond what has been a very unfortunate chapter,” Jonathan Frankel, New Urban West project manager, said in a statement. “Getting rid of this eyesore will help do just that.”
However, one more hurdle remains as Escondido Country Club Homeowners filed a lawsuit after the council’s vote. Media reports speculate the suit may not have merit after the group’s board resigned and a new board was installed. The case is scheduled to be heard May 4 in the Vista Superior Court.
According to Escondido Country Club Homeowners’ website, though, the issue over the former board and its tax returns has been rectified and the group’s legal status has been restored.
“The ECCHO Board of Directors is pleased to report that the issue relating to ECCHO’s legal status has been corrected and ECCHO’s legal status has been fully restored,” the group said in an April 3 statement on its website. “Following an investigation, the current ECCHO Board determined that former ECCHO Board Members were given inaccurate professional advice regarding the filing of tax returns. That administrative error has been fully corrected. ECCHO will continue to pursue its legal efforts to set aside the improper approval of a 380-unit project on the former site of the Escondido Country Club.”