New developer buys former Club Rio Rancho

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RIO RANCHO, N.M. – A new owner has taken over the 250-acre Club Rio Rancho, a former golf course that wraps around neighborhoods. 

As first reported by Albuquerque Business First, the new owner, Steven Chavez, has a track record of developing unused land in the metro and is the man behind Mesa Del Sol, where Netflix is expanding.

Now, he has some plans for Rio Rancho, but what do neighbors think? Some people bought their homes expecting the tranquility of a quiet golf course.

KOB 4 went out there to ask: what do you want to see in your backyard?

“It was beautiful. It was green, it was nice, it was gorgeous,” said Sandra Steckler, Rio Rancho resident for 18 years. 

Steckler raised her family in this Rio Rancho neighborhood.

“My son went to Rio Rancho High School and all of his classmates when they went to homecoming stuff they all went to Chamisa Hills, the country club in Rio Rancho, and they did beautiful pictures,” said Steckler. 

Her backyard butts up against “nothing but weeds and goat heads.”

The only evidence this was ever a golf course is the fossils in the mud.

“Let’s get cleaned up. Let’s do something,” Steckler said. “What I would like is to see all these weeds, clear it off, the trees cut, leveled off and make a little pathway for walking,” said Steckler. 

A walking path is part of the idea, and so is a potential village center where the old clubhouse used to sit.

More homes in open spaces is something Steckler says some neighbors have opposed in the past.

“I think if it’s properly built, you know? And doesn’t have a nuisance on the noise level because that is a factor here too,” he said. 

But one neighbor says she has seen nothing happen for too long.

“It’s been sad to see it go downhill like this,” said Steckler. 

Chavez says they are still in the studying phase, and says he has a lot of other ideas – but it is just too soon to say for sure what the plans will be.

One thing is almost for certain – it will not be a golf course.

Chavez says the planning phase should be completed by the first quarter of 2023. He says if the city, neighborhood associations, and other powers that be – get on board they could move pretty quickly.