Land rush gobbles another ranch in Missouri Heights
The real estate frenzy that’s sparked a record $2 billion in sales in Pitkin County this year has also led to a land rush on ranches farther downvalley.The latest large acreage to sell is the 2,212-acre Lookout Mountain Ranch. It sold Wednesday for $6,924,000, according to Robert Ritchie, the listing and selling broker. The Denver-based real estate holding company that bought the ranch is assessing its development options.The ranch is in what many people consider Missouri Heights, but old-timers insist is properly named Spring Valley. It stretches from the hillside on both sides of Red Canyon Road, after it climbs out of the canyon, to the Glenwood cemetery that contains Doc Holliday’s grave.Ritchie, a partner in Coates, Reid and Waldron, said he calculated that roughly 20 square miles of Missouri Heights is under contract or recently sold. That figure includes just ranches and large, undeveloped tracts of land. It doesn’t include individual 35-acre lots.”The big, huge crunch that everybody thought was going to happen is happening,” Ritchie said.Lookout Mountain Ranch has been subdivided into 61 lots of 35 acres each. Ferrell Capital of Wichita, Kan., owned the property and planned a 337-lot subdivision. That plan was never submitted to Garfield County.Morgan Reed Group of Denver bought the ranch. President Robert Danial said the group studied the area and property for about 18 months before closing. He said his firm was interested in the property because “it’s a large acreage in a significantly high-growth area.” He figured the ranch is a good investment because Glenwood Springs is situated in the center of three economic bases – Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley, Vail and the Eagle Valley and the booming lower Colorado River Valley.Ritchie said he expects to see a “wave” of second-home development in the middle and lower Roaring Fork Valley similar to what the upper valley has experienced.Spring Valley Ranch, formerly known as Chenoa, is adjacent to Lookout Mountain Ranch and reportedly closed last week for $28 million, Ritchie said. That property has approvals for 577 homes, 20,000 square feet of commercial space and two golf courses.Danial said he will spend the next six to eight months assessing what type of project to propose, then submit an application to Garfield County. The 61-lot approved subdivision may or may not be part of the plan, he said.”This parcel has got a lot of options,” said Ritchie, who noted that it has a 4,000-foot runway scratched into the ground. Former owner Wayne Rudd once promoted Lookout Mountain Ranch as the site for Glenwood’s airport.”The options there go all the way to a fly-in subdivision,” Ritchie said.Morgan Reed Group used to own numerous residential, commercial and industrial properties on the East Coast, with the majority in New York, Danial said. Most of those have been sold and the company has reinvested in properties in Colorado.The Mount Princeton Hot Springs near Buena Vista are among the company’s holdings. Danial said his company bought the property tucked among 14,000-foot peaks about one year ago. It is building 10 cabins and rehabilitating the property.Scott Condones e-mail address is email@example.com
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