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Golf community residents band together to save the greens

It’s a retirement dream: move to an Arizona to enjoy the beautiful weather, buy a home with views of the greens, attend community events and live a life of pure leisure.  What happens when the community decides to sell the golf course and build more homes in its place?  For residents in Sunland Springs Village in east Mesa that was the case. However, these residents banded together to save their golf course.
Sunland Springs Village is a Mesa golf community set on 195 acres in the heart of east Mesa. The age-restricted retirement boasts an active lifestyle for residents, with golf being a primary driver for home buyers. When residents heard that their beloved public golf course was up for sale and an outside investor was interested, they got nervous. The potential investor in the golf course had previously bought courses in the area and built more homes on top of the land.

So Sunland Springs Village residents took matters into their own hands. About 400 of the almost 2,500 residents pooled their resources and bought the golf course for $1.9 million.
The group was passionate about saving their investment and their golf community lifestyle. They brought in an expert golf course consultant, Mike Kahn, to work with them on the deal. “The group that brought me out there probably had the best beginning I’ve ever seen,” Kahn said. He was impressed with the job and the deal they scored and refers to it as one of the best he’s seen.
Part of the research Kahan conducted was on home values in golf course communities, specifically those that lost a golf course. There was a distinct decrease in home values, from about 19% to 30%.
Now, thanks to the home owners turned golf course owners, Mesa’s only 27-hole public golf course remains standing. And this unprecedented golf deal has made other golf communities take notice, particularly Club West in Ahwatukee.
The Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course was sold in 2013 and still sits in disarray. Then new owners, True Life Companies, are trying to turn the course into what they call and an “agrihood” with homes, a community farm, farmer’s market, private school and café. But they need 51% of residents to get on board to change the CC&Rs of community (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions).
For now, the course still sits barren and dubbed an eye sore to many residents, decreasing their original idea of what living in an Arizona would be like.  As we saw with Kahan’s research, likely decreasing the value of homes along the course. Perhaps residents will use Sunland Springs as a case study and guide.
While residents of the Mesa golf community agree that this is an experiment and still a work in progress, they are relieved and optimistic about their future as golf course owners and golf enthusiasts.
Don Matheson
Realtor | Founder
The Matheson Team – RE/MAX Fine Properties
21000 N. Pima Rd., #100, Scottsdale, AZ 85255
602-694-3200 or 888-656-4830
[email protected]
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