ORANGE, CA-A partnership headed by a local investor has acquired the 51-acre Ridgeline Country Club and is considering options for developing the property. Phil Bettencourt of the Newport Beach-based planning firm Bettencourt & Associates tells GlobeSt.com that former owner David Freimann will continue to operate the golf, tennis and swimming facilities on the site for the time being, but the new ownership has retained him to help determine the best use for the property.

The partnership that bought the club is called Ridgeline Equestrian Estates LLC and is headed by Orange Park Acres resident John Martin. Bettencourt says that a preliminary analysis concludes that the site of the club, at 1051 N. Meads Ave. would most likely be most suitable for a development of equestrian estates.

“We’ve been working on this property for the past two years,” Bettencourt tells GlobeSt.com. “We’ve performed a highest-and-best use analysis, and our business judgment is that the highest and best use is an equestrian-oriented estate lot project.”

The Ridgeline property includes only a nine-hole golf course, not an 18-hole championship course, and is surrounded on four sides by one-acre lots. “We still saw a use for the tennis club [at Ridgeline], but we were skeptical about the long-term viability of a nine-hole golf course,” Bettencourt says. Rates are continuing to decline even for 18-hole courses, so a nine-hole course would likely have a tougher time of it over the long run, the planner adds.

Terms of the Ridgeline sale were not disclosed.

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