Blog master comments follow the information below copied from the Oro Valley web site.
COMMUNITY INVITED TO GIVE INPUT ON PROPOSED
COUNTRY CLUB ACQUISITION
On Wednesday, December 17, Oro Valley Town Council will discuss a proposal to acquire the Hilton El Conquistador Country Club. The proposal would be to purchase the facilities while assuming no debt and paying the $1 million purchase price over three years. The facilities would then be converted to a municipal community and recreation center with tennis, golf and pool amenities.
Community members are encouraged to attend this meeting to provide their input on this potential project. Citizens may also share their feedback prior to the meeting by contacting the Town’s Constituent Services staff at 520-229-4711 or by submitting comments online through the Citizens Portal by clicking here.
It is anticipated that the Hilton El Conquistador Golf and Tennis Resort, which also includes the El Conquistador Country Club, will change ownership in mid-December, 2014, as current owners MetLife, Inc. are in final discussions with HSL Properties. As part of that transition in ownership, HSL Properties is interested in selling the Country Club and its related amenities (including tennis and golf) to the Town of Oro Valley for $1 million.
Why is the Town interested in this opportunity?
The need for a community center has been part of our residents’ dialogue for several years, and it became even clearer through the Your Voice, Our Future public participation phase of the General Plan update which launched in the fall of 2013.
According to a statistically-valid community survey conducted in September 2013 as part of the General Plan update, the top concern among participants who were asked what they enjoyed LEAST about living in Oro Valley was “distance” and “lack of services,” including “no central place to meet people.”
Subsequent community outreach efforts in the following months supported this concern, with many residents and event participants expressing a desire for a community center or central gathering place as well as increased recreational offerings for all ages.
In a more recent statistically-valid survey, conducted by the Oro Valley Parks & Recreation Department in June 2014, participants were asked about the “importance of constructing multi-use community centers with facilities for indoor recreation/fitness programs,” with 51% responding that this was “very important” and 34% responding that it was “somewhat important.”
FMR Associates, Inc. conducted both surveys, which are available in their entirety upon request.
What’s included in the purchase?
The amenities of this purchase, on 324 acres of land, include:
- A 31,475 square-foot community and recreation center at 10555 N. La Cañada Drive (currently the Hilton El Conquistador Country Club).
- Rooms for meetings and social gatherings
- Racquetball/multiuse rooms
- Dance and fitness rooms
- Cardio and strength equipment
- Children’s activity room
- A 5,600 square-foot club house/pro shop at the Hilton Resort property
- Golf courses—45 holes
- Conquistador Course at country club property (18 holes)
- Cañada Course at country club property (18 holes)
- Pusch Ridge Course at resort property (9 holes)
- A full-service restaurant and bar
- A café
- 31 lighted tennis courts (15 at the country club property and 16 at the resort property)
- 2 swimming pools
How will it be paid for?
The $1 million purchase price will be paid for out of the Town’s General Fund Contingency over the next three years, resulting in no debt. However, the ongoing maintenance and operations of the facilities, including initial capital improvements (such as life-safety and ADA compliance), will require an additional revenue stream. To meet that need, the Town is proposing a half-cent sales tax, which is expected to generate approximately $2 million annually. That sales tax would be designated solely for the proposed Community & Recreation Center and related amenities.
Why such a short timeframe?
The Town of Oro Valley began exploring this opportunity during the early part of the summer months (2014) after the idea came out of a meeting between Town officials and a broker for a potential Hilton Resort purchaser. That deal to purchase the resort from current owner MetLife, Inc., ultimately fell through, so the Town’s opportunity to consider the Country Club was never brought forward for public discussion. Months later, when HSL Properties expressed interest in purchasing the Hilton Resort from MetLife, the Town was re-engaged in similar discussions about the potential of purchasing the Country Club property and related amenities; however, the opportunity couldn’t be brought forth to the public until negotiations between MetLife and HSL Properties had been completed. The aggressive timeline set forth by these two parties has also placed the Town on an accelerated timeline. That is why public input is so critical.
Where can I get more information on this proposal?
More detail on the Town’s financial forecast can be found in the presentation that was given to Town Council on December 3. That presentation is available on the Town’s website as a downloadable PDF. Click here or visit www.orovalleyaz.gov and click on Featured News to be taken to the information page on this project. That page also contains links to the two public presentations given by Troon, the vendor currently being considered to manage the golf, restaurant and 16 tennis courts at the Resort property.
Residents have many questions, including cost of membership and priority for current Country Club members and residents. These details are still being worked out and will not be finalized until early 2015, pending project approval.
Blog Master comments:
I believe that the prospect to purchase this PRIME piece of real estate for this amount is one of those events that comes along once in a lifetime. By the same token, “All that glitters, is not gold”. So I am pleased that the Town Council has NOT rushed into this as ‘Cheech and Chong’ would have you believe from their Guest Opinion in the last edition of the Explorer. The Town financial staff, who have a reputation of being very fiscally conservative, has studied the numbers and believe this is a long term positive revenue generator. It’s hard to argue against them. They have been spot on during the recent fiscal downturn and recovery from the same.
My only angst, and it is not enough to nix the deal is the management contract that we will have with Troon. While they have a great reputation for success, I would feel better with a Guaranteed Net or Profit and Loss type contract in the near future. A strictly management fee arrangement provides for no downside protection for the Town.
The four Councilpersons who appear to favor this move all have a business background or some business experience. The remaining three have none that is measurable.
I’ll go with the majority on this one.