Real estate investment firm buys Foothills course

The 18-hole, 166-acre Foothills Golf Course in Ahwatukee has bene purchased by a longtime family-run real estate investment company that specializes in commercial and multifamily properties. (Tom Sanfilppo/Inside Out Aerial)

A California company that specializes in apartment and commercial development has purchased the Foothills Golf Course for $4.7 million, leaving Wilson Gee and his partners with two left courses in Ahwatukee with a third in nearby Maricopa.

AZ Management & Investments LLC, a subsidiary of Ennabe Properties a multigenerational-family business, also has entered into an agreement with Troon to manage the 166-acre, 18-hole course.

Attorney Michael Ennabe, a member of the family-owners, told AFN that “although we are in the early stages of acquiring the golf club, we are planning on renovating the club house and the golf course in 2023. Troon has been great to work with thus far and we are still working out the details for the renovations in 2023.”

Ennabe said his company, has been involved in Arizona real estate investment for 15 years and has multifamily properties in Phoenix, Mesa and Tucson and recently has been acquiring commercial properties in Chandler and Gilbert.

“This is our first golf course acquisition and although slightly outside of our wheelhouse, we love the Ahwatukee community and surrounding areas – which is why we thought Foothills Golf Club would be a good fit,” Ennabe said. “We hope to be a good partner to the Ahwatukee community and plan on making the golf club a place where the community can gather.”

He also had high praise for Troon, which he said “has been instrumental in the entire process.” Troon is the world’s largest golf course management company.

“I originally engaged them for the due diligence process and quickly retained them to manage the property and they are running the day-to-day operations of the facility. I could not have done it without them ," Ennabe said, "and they have been great to work with throughout the entire process.”

The sale includes the course, the 12,000-square-foot clubhouse that was built in 1981, and two lofts totaling another 12,750 square feet.

And unlike its deteriorating neighbor, the Club West Golf Course, the Foothills’ future use is locked into golf under the community’s CC&Rs. That’s not the same for Club West, where the course itself has its own land use regulations, though a group of homeowners that banded together in a group called the Club West Conservancy is asserting that the original homebuilder there and its successor, Shea Homes, promised to keep it an 18-hole course.

The Edge has not yet disclosed its plans for that site because of litigation that has lasted almost the entire time it has owned the property.

Gee sold that course in 2019 to the four partners who formed The Edge, which is fighting the Conservancy’s effort to have a Superior Court judge declare that homes can never be built on the 164-acre site.

Gee declined to discuss the Foothills sale, but said earlier this year when he put that course and The Duke in Maricopa up for sale that conditions were favorable for him and his partners to start divesting themselves of their courses. He and his partners still own the Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course and the Ahwatukee Country Club.

Shortly after reaching a tentative deal with Ennabe, Gee took the 137-acre Duke in Maricopa off the market because golf season was about to begin. That course had been priced at $8 million.

Designed by Tom Weiskoph and Jay Moorish, the Foothills Golf Course has been rated 4 stars by Golf Digest Places to Play and “meanders through a very upscale desert layout combined with a links flavor, minus the extreme carries that golfers often associate with desert designs,” according to its listing on Loopnet.com.

The ad also touted the site’s “allure and challenge,” noting that the clubhouse includes a 160-seat theater, pro shop, room for restaurant outfitting and spacious patios and views of South Mountain “and an aesthetic quality that makes a round here memorable – as evidenced by the gorgeous postcard quality backdrops behind the greens and tees.”

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