Living green in Gypsum |

Living green in Gypsum

Katie Drucker
Eagle correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
An artist's rendering shows the village area proposed at Winding Creek Ranch. (Contributed image)

GYPSUM, Colo. ” The move to live “green” has inspired a new development proposal in Gypsum.

Winding Creek Ranch is 980 acres of pastures and steep hillsides covered in sage and juniper trees in the Gypsum Creek Valley. John and Kurt Forstmann of KJF LLC hope to build 340 homes there.

The Forstmanns have been talking to Gypsum about annexing their land for about a year. They say they will use local food, energy and water at the development.

“This development will gain national attention and the town of Gypsum will be considered on the ‘green’ cutting edge,” Kurt Forstmann said.

Winding Creek’s home would be nestled around 10 man-made lakes. Most of the homes will be townhomes and “casitas,” which are small cabin-like houses, on one-fourth-of-an-acre lots.

Pine beetle-killed lumber as well as stones found on the lot would be used to build the homes. Energy-efficient windows would be installed in the residences to better control the temperature inside.

The lakes would be for scenery and recreation, but would also hold water for Gypsum. One of the 10 lakes would be open to the general public.

“Water storage is not a necessity for Gypsum, but it is a nice safeguard in case there is a drought,” Tom Edwards, a Town Council member said.

Kurt Forstmann said he hopes Winding Creek’s proposed 30,000-square-feet of shops will keep people out of their cars.

“Seventy-five percent of all automobile trips are for convenience,” he noted. “For example, to go to the store to get diapers,”

Agriculture is another main component of the project.

“With fuel costs making up 70 percent of the cost of food, there is no better time to grow your own food,” said Forstmann.

Twenty-two acres of land would be designated for agricultural purposes. Six of those acres would be apple and pear orchards.

The site would include an outfitters cabin with fishing operations, yoga classes and a swimming pool. An equestrian stable would also be built.

“We don’t want people to just sleep here,” Forstmann said.

The Forstmanns say they hope to have the project approved by the end of this year. They want to break ground in the spring or summer of 2009.

The development company proposing Winding Creek Ranch is Avon-based KJF LLC ” an affiliate of the Forstmann Development Group, a father-son team.

John Forstmann has been in development for 45 years and son Kurt has worked alongside his dad for 15 years.

They have developed projects in Denver, Eagle County and Washington D.C., but have never developed a green project.

“Building green excites me,” the younger Forstmann said. “It is business not as usual.”

He predicts half of the Winding Creek Ranch buyers will be full-time residents and the other half will be second-home owners.

Forstmann also believes “Green Boomers” ” Baby Boomers looking for communities that make an environmental difference ” will retire at Winding Creek Ranch.

Europeans, who have been green-focused longer than Americans, are also likely to buy in this development, he said.