Gird Valley ‘savior’ Work saluted by neighbors

Jade and Julie Work.
Jade and Julie Work.

The day before Thanksgiving, residents of the Gird Valley gave thanks to Jade Work, the man who saved the area from feared development.

Work, along with his wife, Julie, completed the purchase of struggling Fallbrook Golf Club and its 116 acres of Gird Valley real estate Nov. 15. The process of buying the property took months as the Works and golf club owner Jack Lamberson dealt in court with Ronald Richards of D-Day Capital LLC, which owned the notes on the property.

Richards and associates have purchased stressed golf courses throughout California with plans to develop the properties, and when Richards began the foreclosure process against Lamberson, many feared the worst. The Works ended the angst when they completed the deal.

Directors of the group SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com organized a meet-and-greet with Jade Work in the golf course’s clubhouse and more than 100 members of the community attended the Nov. 23 meeting. Upon entering the facility, people stopped to sign and write messages on one of the group’s signature “SaveFallbrookGolfCourse” banners, which was later presented to Work. Scribbled notes ranged from greatly thanking Work to calling him a “hero” and “savior.”

Work hosted a question-and-answer session with the audience after describing his plans to build a world-class winery on the property that will also feature a wine tasting room, a barrel room, a restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as courtyard-type venue that could be used for corporate events, weddings or parties.

“I won’t be successful in this unless this place is spectacularly beautiful,” Work told the crowd. “I have a huge vested interest to make it spectacular.”

Work, who reportedly paid about $4 million for the course, also stated his plans to put a conservation easement on the entire property to protect it from ever becoming a housing development, and his desire to make 36 acres on the northern part of the land a public park.

“I have had many meetings with the Fallbrook Land Conservancy, and it’s my desire to turn that into a true public park,” said Work. “The northern piece of the property would be purely open space for walkers. The lower space would be a working vineyard.”

Work said the existing building that for 50 years has housed the clubhouse and restaurant/bar will be reduced down to studs and completely remodeled.

“I’m working with an architect now, and I’d say it’s a 90 percent chance this is going to be very old world Italian-style architecture,” said Work. “There will be a wine tasting room, and we’ll have a completely new kitchen. I really want to develop a kind of indoor/outdoor dining.”

Work said it will likely be two years before the restaurant is open.

“This all has to be drawn and submitted to the county and the Fallbrook Community Planning Group to get everyone’s approval,” said Work. “Hopefully we can get building permits within six months and then it’s another year and a half to build the structure.”

Work hopes to start planting grape vines in April.

“We’re planning right now on about 45 acres of grapes,” said Work. “That’s subject to change.”

Work’s plans also call for building a barrel room into a hillside where the ninth green used to challenge golfers. The barrel room will be used for storing wine to age and will be designed to accommodate people for dinners and special events.

All of the ideas were greeted with great enthusiasm by the vast majority of those in attendance. After his presentation, Work was treated like a celebrity as people lined up to shake his hand and say thanks, offered to help in any way possible, and promised to support his new venture.

Work, a friendly, easy-going individual, is also very determined. Owner and operator of the golf course construction company Integrity Golf, Work has built elite courses throughout the western U.S. as well as in Korea and Mexico. Conceding that Fallbrook Golf Club simply couldn’t make it financially as a golf course, he came up with another plan – a winery – and couldn’t wait to get started on it.

Work and his crew began working on the Gird Valley property Nov. 16 – the day after escrow closed.

“We had 30 men out here, cleaning up all the trash and debris,” said Work, adding there is a lot of clean up to be done. “All the old equipment is being hauled off, and all the maintenance areas cleaned. All the dead trees are being removed.”

Work was asked about the task of running his existing company while directing his new Gird Valley project.

“I love it,” said Work. “I wake up at five in the morning with just a head swimming with ideas. And I love that, I live for that. I don’t do too well if I’m not under a lot of pressure. I just don’t.

“Even though this is a massive endeavor, I’ve never had so much fun,” continued Work. “It’s super, super exciting. My wife and I want this to be like, ‘holy crap, this is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.’”

Work’s attitude is why people like Joan McConnell, a key player in SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com, have been on cloud nine since the escrow closed.

“My husband and I were in the Portland airport when I got the call that the escrow had closed, and I was literally doing cartwheels down the concourse,” said McConnell. “We were just super excited. As you can see, Jade is a real go-getter and we’re really happy to be part of the process.”

McConnell said the Works have etched themselves a place in Fallbrook history.

“To me this feels like a new chapter in the history of our community,” said McConnell. “Because we have this history of agricultural families here. There’s the Girds, and the Reches, and that’s a really important history to a lot of people here. It’s an agricultural community, and I think this feels like the Works are now sort of the stewards of this new chapter in that agricultural history of our community and specifically this valley. That’s a really cool thing, to see that starting to unfold.”

6 Responses to "Gird Valley ‘savior’ Work saluted by neighbors"

  1. SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com   December 2, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Thanks to everyone who attended the meeting and a big thank you to Jade and Julie Work for taking on this project! We look forward to the transformation of this property into the gem of Gird Valley!

    Reply
  2. Alan & Pauline Voges   December 5, 2016 at 12:03 am

    Thank you so much to Jade & Julia for preserving Gird Valley. God bless you!

    Reply
  3. Kevin & Lisa Brennan   December 10, 2016 at 6:50 am

    My wife Lisa and I will be moving to the Gird Valley area in January.

    We look forward to becoming a part of this lovely community and are
    excited about the changes to come!

    Reply
  4. dkl   December 15, 2016 at 8:24 am

    So, basically your SAVE FALLBROOK GOLF COURSE campaign failed miserably. The course is now gone, all of the trees are cut down and the fairways are being graded all for a winery.

    Tell me how this is better than a mitigation bank.

    Reply
    • Dusty   December 15, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      How is a winery/vineyard better than if D-Day had seized it, sold it to a developer, and then packed the land with new housing?

      Let me ponder that difficult question…

      Fallbrook Golf Course wasn’t technically “saved” in that it did _not_ remain a golf course. But, it _did_ avoid the ‘rape and pillage’ future that it was on the fast track to being subjected to. It was saved from the fate of being sold to potential business owners without any concern over the long term community impact their decisions would bring.

      Plus, as I understand it, a portion of the north end will likely be open to the public, a park, in conjunction with the existing Fallbrook Land Conservancy trail. Combine that with seeing vines, instead of villas, and we came out of this much better than Bonsall or Escondido did with their own developer-driven outcomes.

      Reply
      • SaveGirdValley.com   March 4, 2017 at 4:37 pm

        When SaveFallbrookGolfCourse.com was forming, there were discussions that perhaps the name should have been SaveGirdValley.com. We even closed the presentation at the library in January 2016 with just that question. In fact, we even bought the domain SaveGirdValley.com. Obviously we were not able to save the course and no one can force an owner to lose money every year running a golf course. But we all did save the property from development (the previous owner was trying to sell it for such and a developer bought the debt). Even better, will never have to battle housing developers again. Since the Works have promised to save the property from development via the use of conservation easements, it will always to agricultural open space. That means farming, a vineyard, a golf course, anything along those lines forever. If you are interested in Gird Valley, we have taken SaveGirdValley.com live and will be holding a meeting soon. Sign up for updates by sending your email to [email protected]. Thanks!

        Reply

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