Aspen polo club buys old Preshana equestrian facility | AspenTimes.com

Aspen polo club buys old Preshana equestrian facility

John Colson
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

CARBONDALE — An Aspen-based polo club has purchased the 15-acre equestrian facility once known as Preshana Farms, located at Highway 82 and Catherine Store Road, apparently for use as a base for polo games and activities in the Roaring Fork Valley.

According to records in the Garfield County Courthouse, the land was sold to the Aspen Valley Polo Club LLC on Oct. 9 by the owner and developer of the nearby Aspen Equestrian Estates housing project, Jay Weinberg and the company he manages, Trend Investments LLC, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

At a hearing before the Garfield County commissioners earlier this year, Weinberg won permission to split the equestrian facilities off from the planned unit development under which the adjacent homes were built and rezone the property to the rural classification.

Weinberg's planne-unit-development amendment application last spring, according to documents on file with Garfield County, was intended initially to provide a receiving site for relocation of the Ross Montessori school in Carbondale, but that plan was abandoned after the school failed to win county approvals for the move.

The property then was purchased on Oct. 9 by the polo club in a sale handled by the Carol Dopkin Real Estate company, as confirmed by both Weinberg and Dopkin on Nov. 14. The sale price on the property was $1.85 million, according to documents on file with the Garfield County Clerk's Office.

Aspen attorney Gary Wright, representing the polo club, declined to reveal the name of the buyer, although area residents involved in the polo scene say it is the family of Marc and Melissa Ganzi, noted members of the national and international polo set.

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The Ganzis, who live part time in Florida and in Aspen, seven years ago launched the Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington, Fla., near where they live.

Marc Ganzi, an active businessman in wireless communications who recently sold a cellphone-tower company for a reported price of $4.8 billion, could not be reached for comment.

But sources familiar with area equestrian activities have confirmed that the planned use for the old Preshana property, whoever owns it, is to bring polo, known as the "sport of kings," back to the valley in a higher profile than has been the case recently.

Preshana in the late 1970s and '80s was a facility for horseboarding, equestrian events and polo. The field now occupied by the homes built by Weinberg once was an open field used for polo games.

In 1989, the property's owners, Henry and Lana Trettin, subdivided the 67-acre property, leaving the equestrian center intact but creating a planned unit development containing several residential districts and an open space parcel adjacent to Highway 82.

Weinberg, in 1998, won approval for a new planned unit development and began developing the Aspen Equestrian Estates housing project.

Calls to the Aspen Valley Polo Club yielded confirmation that the Ganzis are involved in the club, but a planned return call from a public-relations representative did not materialize.