The Paso Robles Golf Club is on its way to foreclosure, but its lender hopes to purchase the longtime business for an undisclosed sum in September and keep it open.
The property, owned by a family estate in Southern California, defaulted on its mortgage in May after owner Zeke Avila died earlier this year.
His business, Zeke Avila & Sons Inc., has owned the property since December 1994, according to county records. The ownership moved into the family trust after his death.
Santa Lucia Bank’s Atascadero branch issued a 90-day notice of default on the property at 1600 Country Club Drive on May 12. Those documents say it’s at least $61,000 overdue on its $2.7 million loan.
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The club includes an 18-hole golf course, a pro shop, a bar/lounge and a driving range located around homes on the city’s east side off Niblick Road.
The property is currently listed as in pre-foreclosure, but bank officials say a 20-day notice of sale is slated for August, with an expected sale date the first week of September.
If Santa Lucia Bank is not outbid during that sale, it plans to operate the golf club “well into the future” with Touchstone Golf Inc. as the property manager, bank Chief Credit Officer Claudya Ross said.
Touchstone is currently operating the club, which remains open.
If the bank’s bid succeeds, it also has plans to make improvements to the grounds to improve the golfer’s play, Ross said.
If the bank is outbid from a third-party buyer, the future of the property and its operations could become unsettled.
The land is zoned for parks and open space. That means shopping centers and homes could not be constructed, but other uses such as recreation or a hotel could come in after a design review process with the city.
Earlier this month, Paso Robles Mayor Pro Tem Fred Strong asked whether the city is interested in buying the property, should it become available. But city staff said it would be too costly to maintain so the city won’t pursue a potential deal.
The golf club is also delinquent on approximately $310,000 in county property taxes. The new owner would inherit that bill. The club has defaulted in property taxes since June of fiscal year 2005-06.
The property is one of three golf courses in the city, and has a rich history dating back to the 1960s when two former City Council members and community advocates founded it. Now deceased, brothers Barney and Dale Schwartz began the site as a private country club. The golf club is now open to the public.
According to the county Assessor’s Office, the assessed value of the land in the 2011-12 tax year is about $2.9 million. An additional plot at the same address listed on the notice of default is assessed $170,500.