Prospective buyers of Sundale Country Club recently explored the possibility of developing housing at the site's 18-hole golf course, a move allowed by the property's deed starting in 2022 but opposed by members of the surrounding retirement community of Kern City.
An architect representing four outside investors now in escrow to buy the club made "casual inquiries" with city officials two months ago about potentially building homes at the site. A senior city official said the talks did not result in any formal development proposal.
Randeep Dhillon, who represents a group of investors active in San Jose's technology industry, said Thursday he has recommended the group abandon the idea of developing homes at the site. But he acknowledged the idea might still be on the table.
"You never know what’s going to happen," he said. "I said no. … That was my recommendation to them. I think they took it."
Members of the retirement community's homeowners organization, Kern City Civic Association, are opposed to the idea of developing housing on the golf course, President Jolene Simons said.
"We like the golf course," she said.
The country club's current owners did not return calls requesting comment.
Bakersfield Development Services Director Jacqui Kitchen said the city has not come to any conclusion on whether the property would be appropriate for housing.
"It is premature to tell what the site could accommodate, and if it should" be converted to housing, she said by email. "A lot of factors to consider."
Sundale opened in 1962 as part of then-new Kern City, which has 1,024 residences.
The country club entered foreclosure in June and had been scheduled by its lender to be sold at auction. But according to the company handling the foreclosure, the matter was settled in November without need for an auction.
The country club's formerly full owner, Young Ohr, sold part of his stake June 28. County records show that while Ohr retained 90 percent ownership, Steve Kim now owns 4 percent, Peter Song owns 3 percent and John Park owns 3 percent.
Dhillon said the group he represents approached the club's owners about a potential purchase of the property in early November.
The Kern County Assessor-Recorder's Office has valued the country club at almost $2.9 million.
Golfing has declined in popularity in recent years, and at least two Kern County golf courses have closed within about the last year.