New owner plans to improve the attraction
Tom’s Farms has been purchased by Sunny Hwang, owner of the Glen Ivy Golf Club. The purchase price has not been disclosed for the 46-acre tourist attraction that includes 16 buildings and structures, and two adjacent undeveloped parcels.
Hwang intends to continue the legacy of Tom Barnes, who started the business 46 years ago, and will maintain Tom’s Farms as a retail and amusement attraction. “I plan to update the property to make it more enjoyable for families,” Hwang said.
Among the attractions Hwang said he is considering is the possibility of a small-scale farm with barnyard animals and a vegetable garden. He said the addition of more shops is possible, as well as changes for the restaurants. “I definitely want to add more shade,” Hwang said, “to improve the shopping experience and to provide areas where families can just relax and enjoy the surroundings.
Hwang said he wanted to get through escrow, which closed June 9, before laying out timelines for specific projects.
He also noted that a hotel might be considered for one of the two parcels located at the southwest corner of Temescal Canyon and Lawson roads, and at the southeast corner of Temescal Canyon and Squaw Mountain roads. “Whatever is developed on the parcels should be compatible with the golf course and Tom’s Farms,” Hwang said.
Barnes, a much-respected and admired businessman, died of cancer in July 2001 at the age of 55. A decision was made in January of this year to sell the property, and it was listed with Braun International Real Estate which published a 20-page “call for offers” sales memorandum.
While the Cheese & Wine Shoppe building was included in the purchase, the business was not. The building is leased and the business is owned by Frank Hetland Sr. and sons Frank Jr. and Brandon. Barnes and Hetland were close friends for many years and the Cheese & Wine Shoppe was one of the early businesses at the Farm.
Hwang, who owns and is president of Sunland Properties Inc., surprised many people in March 2016 when a U.S. District Court judge deemed his $4.3 million offer the winning bid to purchase Glen Ivy Golf Club. Also submitting a bid was GOCO Hospitality, a Bangkok-based international wellness hospitality development and management company, which purchased the Glen Ivy Hot Springs spa in January 2016.
The golf course, adjacent to Trilogy, had been in receivership since March 2014 when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged then-owner World Capital Market Inc. of operating a worldwide pyramid scheme and seized the company’s assets.
Hwang, 68, said he finds the natural beauty and mountain topography of Temescal Valley impressive, and views it regularly. Although Sunland Properties is headquartered in Rancho Cucamonga, he hasn’t been an absentee business owner. While making improvements to the golf course, he’s also an avid golfer, and is often seen on the links trying to improve his game.