Las Cruces country club land development plan moves forward

The old Las Cruces Country Club built by Henry Trost near the new hospital, Three Crosses Regional Hospital, is pictured in Las Cruces on Friday, August 14, 2020.

LAS CRUCES – The former site of the Las Cruces Country Club is one step closer to being developed, and the city says the landowner’s intent is to develop the area according to a community blueprint.

While the Las Cruces City Council will have the final say over the rezoning of 75 acres of vacant country club land, development plans moved forward Tuesday night when the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted to accept staff recommendations for the zone changes.

“I have seen this property vacant for quite a long time and I’ll be very happy to see it developed,” said Commission Chair Harvey Gordon after voting yes.

The Apodaca Blueprint, adopted by the Las Cruces City Council in 2018 after a public input process, is a long-term vision for the development of 730 acres of the city, which includes Apodaca Park; the former country club and golf course off North Main Street; a segment of the east-west Madrid Avenue; an old flood control dam on Triviz Drive known as the Villa Mora property; and numerous homes north and south of Madrid Avenue.

The country club property primarily makes up Focus Area A of the blueprint — the focus area amounts to 158 acres. The focus area is further subdivided into multiple suggested land use areas which include commercial business centers, mixed-use centers, high-density townhouses, single-family homes and green space.

The blueprint does not suggest zoning for the focus area.

In 2020, Nebraska-based real estate developer Zachary Wiegert proposed to form a tax increment development district on the land to incentivize and fund the development of different types of housing, retail, office space and entertainment, but the deal ultimately fell through following questions and concerns from Mayor Ken Miyagishima before the city council could vote to form the district.

Following his withdrawal of the TIDD application, Wiegert told theSun-News his company could either rezone the land and develop it — for a much higher cost to his firm than if there had been tax increment financing — hold on to the land without developing it, sell it or develop it under its current single-family residential zoning.

Later that year, Three Crosses Regional Hospital opened on part of the old country club land, still leaving the undeveloped 75 acres zoned for single-family housing.

Three Crosses Regional Hospital on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020.

Wiegert’s real estate development firm, Tetrad Property Group, submitted several zone change requests to the city for those 75 acres which are intended to conform to the land use areas laid out in the Apodaca Blueprint.

Randy McMillan, president of NAI First Valley Realty in Las Cruces and one of the landowners for the property, stated in an email: “We are moving forward with the direction the city has always wanted with that area of town in full compliance with the Apodaca Blueprint.”

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