The sprawling El Paso International Airport encompasses nearly 6,700 acres, the vast majority of which are given over to the airport’s terminal, various operational facilities, and three runways.
But like other major metropolitan airports, EPIA owns and maintains a significant amount of surrounding acreage, much of which has been slated for future non-airport development.
One such property is comprised of the 18-hole Butterfield Trail Golf Course, located at 1858 Cottonwoods Drive in east El Paso.
That course, designed by nationally known golf course architect Tom Fazio, was opened by EPIA some thirteen years ago at a cost of $11 million and is regarded as one of the finest such courses in the southwest.
Despite its positive reputation, the 25-acre course in recent years has been losing money, a pattern seen in golf courses across the country due to what industry analysts say is an oversaturation of the market.
Such dynamics have led to the closing of around 800 golf courses nationally in the last decade, a number that the Butterfield course seemed destined to join earlier this year when the EPIA announced its closure.
EPIA officials said a plan to close the course was partially due to a decline in passenger revenue at the airport since the COVID-19 outbreak.
But now an El Paso developer has stepped in with a plan that will not only keep the Butterfield course open, but may well lead to the mixed-use development of other currently vacant EPIA properties.
Russell Hanson, owner of the El Paso-based Hanson Asset Management, has offered to take over the Butterfield course in return for purchasing just over 150 acres adjacent to the course that belong to EPIA.
Hanson, in a Letter of Intent to the EPIA, said he would like to eventually see a combination of residential, commercial, and industrial development on the land.
There has been no official response yet from the EPIA, which in recent years has mulled the possibility of selling the golf course without making a decision one way or the other.
Hanson has been extensively involved in real estate development projects in both El Paso and southern New Mexico.
It was earlier reported that the Hanson Development Corporation was one of the largest housing developers in El Paso.
By Garry Boulard
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