Canoa Hills Clubhouse parking

GVR Foundation tentatively plans to discuss and possibly act on a purchase/lease proposal recently approved by GVR, involving a 103-space parking lot at the former Canoa Hill Golf Course clubhouse.

The GVR Foundation will soon consider a purchase agreement for the parking lot next to Canoa Hills clubhouse after Green Valley Recreation’s board approved an offer Wednesday to secure badly needed space for members.

GVR purchased the former golf course clubhouse on Camino del Sol last fall along with a small parking lot, but wants at least some of the 103 spaces in the larger adjacent lot particularly for use by clubs likely to occupy the building. Tentative plans call for the 8,000-square foot structure to be remodeled for glass arts and ceramics clubs, which also have been raising funds to help offset costs.

The board Wednesday approved a plan that would pay the GVR Foundation $11,000 per year over 10 years ($110,000, with no interest) and a lease agreement between GVR and the foundation providing 169 square feet of office space in nearby Canoa Ranch rec center for 15 years, valued at $60,000.

The matter now goes to the foundation board, which will meet in the next week or so, said member Jim Counter, who was board president when the building was purchased.

Speaking for himself, Counter said he is “fairly sure” the foundation will reach accord on the GVR-approved proposal.

“Our goal is to always do what’s best for GVR members; if it’s better to pay over 10 years rather than up front, it’ll take longer to build the Member Assistance Program. OK, but we’ll be doing other things as well. It will still help.”

The foundation has said it will use the money for MAP, which helps members pay dues. One of GVR’s proposals was to pay the $110,000 in a lump sum but that did not get to a vote.

GVR had hoped Pima County would lease parking spots not needed for member use for public access to adjacent Canoa Hills Trails Park from there. The county declined CEO Scott Somers’ request in June. That decision left GVR and the foundation to forge its own deal.

Somers called his proposal “not perfect … but not bad,” saying it will help growing club needs.

{span style=”font-size: 20px;”}Eight of the 12-member board voted for the plan, three opposed it. Member Randy Howard was absent from Wednesday’s meeting and did not vote.{/span}

Other ideas

Aiming to soften the financial blow, board member Christine Gallegos asked if it were possible to buy slightly less than half the parking spots GVR expects to need, and the others later.

“That wouldn’t work because we don’t know the (exact) building use or the number of spaces (GVR) will need yet,” board member Don Weaver said. Gallegos opposed the proposal along with Bart Hillyer and Carol Crothers.

Hillyer called for more time to let members weigh in, and said the foundation’s goal was that the parking lot would create a revenue stream for its mission.

GVR’s board “has no duty to the foundation,” Hillyer said. “I find office space on GVR property very worrisome” as it gives the impression that the two entities are related, when they are separate.

GVR lost financially because it failed to communicate that there was a better offer to the membership, he said.

“I believe members should have had this information long before now before a decision is made,” he said.

He refers to the estimated $130,000 loss for GVR, considering it could have bought the building and large parking lot for $540,000 in 2020. In his proposal, Somers noted total cash outlay for the parking lot and clubhouse would be $610,000 — $90,000 less than the GVR board was initially approved to spend on it. What GVR’s board approved Wednesday doesn’t include the $60,000 value of the office space, which puts GVR’s total investment in obtaining the parking lot and clubhouse at $670,000.

Somers figures GVR would have paid $50,000 for the lot, leaving a $120,000 gap when using the $170,000 valuation. The proposal calls for each entity to pay $60,000 each — for GVR, a total cash payment to the foundation of $110,000; the foundation would accept $60,000 less than the lot’s value.

To adhere to IRS requirements (the foundation can’t sell an asset for less than its value), the foundation would get $60,000 in the form of office space for 15 years — a room at Canoa Ranch Rec Center, which it’s already using.

Hillyer favored selling the clubhouse, saying possibly GVR could make a profit on it in the current real estate market.

Crothers praised Somers for “an admirable job on a reasonable solution,” considering the building purchase preceded his hiring at GVR. But she said she saw merit to the idea of buying fewer parking spots and wanted to postpone a decision to allow time to gather more ideas from members.

Board member Donna Coon said the location is ideal, close to a large percentage of members, and parking is a must.

“Obviously, this could’ve been done differently,” she said of the purchase.

Even with this building in use, other clubs have requested more space, and Counter is doubtful the clubhouse can accommodate more than two sizable clubs, especially ones requiring dedicated equipment such as firing kilns. So space needs will be ongoing.

The foundation has already received donations from clubs, for which contributors get tax credits, he noted.

“We’ve donated hundreds of thousands of dollars for GVR facilities that become GVR assets,” he said. “We have to expand and can’t limit our scope just to GVR, we have to say we’re there for the whole community, but 95 percent of the community are GVR members.”

Kitty Bottemiller | 520-547-9732