Housing developer New Urban West Inc. of Santa Monica is examining possible development of the former Escondido Country Club, the future of which has long been the subject of controversy under its current property owner.
In a statement that provided few details on its potential involvement, including whether it has acquired the site, New Urban West said it has entered into a “feasibility review” to develop the former golf course property. The 110-acre property is currently owned by Beverly Hills-based developer Stuck in the Rough LLC, led by Michael Schlesinger.
A spokesman for New Urban West said March 11 that the developer had no further comment beyond the statement.
Schlesinger since 2013 has been locked in legal and election battles with the city and neighboring residents over redevelopment of the former country club into new single-family homes, among other elements. The city in 2013 moved to keep the golf course as open space rather than allowing housing or other development, a decision subsequently upheld by voters in an election but then overturned by a court.
In its statement, New Urban West said Schlesinger “will have no role in the design and planning of the project, and New Urban West will now have the opportunity to approach the community with a blank canvas.”
“We’re going to listen to the community closely, and respond with a thoughtful proposal that is both desirable and economically viable.”
Animosity between Schlesinger’s company and local residents reached a peak in 2014, when Stuck in the Rough dumped a reported 5 tons of odorous chicken manure on several former fairways at the defunct country club. The property owner said it was done to fertilize and preserve the grass, while neighbors said it was done in retaliation for their opposition to the housing development.
Schlesinger’s company last year submitted a compromise measure to the city that would take the number of planned homes from approximately 430 to 270, but nothing to date has moved forward at the site.
New Urban West has previously done several residential projects in the local market. Its current developments include Oak Creek, a 65-home gated housing community in Escondido approved in 2014 and planned for a site north of Felicita County Park.