Business Monday: Woody Creek’s Circle R Ranch going to auction, bidding starts at $10 million | AspenTimes.com

Business Monday: Woody Creek’s Circle R Ranch going to auction, bidding starts at $10 million

After languishing on the market for 1,200 days and seeing the sales price cut in half, Circle R Ranch in Woody Creek is going to auction this week.

The sprawling 244-acre property off Woody Creek Road has six homes and was developed by brothers Sam and Charles Wyly in the early 2000s.

It went on the market in 2015 shortly after Sam Wyly filed for bankruptcy. It was originally going for $59.5 million and then in May of 2017, the price dropped to $29.9 million.

Now, it will go to the highest bidder through global auction firm, Concierge Auctions. Bidding, which starts at $10 million, will be open Friday through Aug. 6, and will take place via the firm's online marketplace.

The Circle R Ranch may be the poster child for the Woody Creek real estate market, which saw a slow down when the great recession hit 10 years ago.

"The market for $30 million ranches in the Woody Creek area has been slow," said Andrew Ernemann, a realtor for Aspen Snowmass Sotheby's International Realty.

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He and broker Craig Morris, who had the listing originally, are working in cooperation with Concierge Auctions.

"We were looking at options going into the summer and how to give exposure to the property," Ernemann said, explaining that whatever price Circle R Ranch sells for will serve as a barometer for the market. "This will help prove out a price for property in the area."

Just up the road is George Stranahan's Flying Dog Ranch, which has been on the market since 2008. It was originally listed for $56 million. There's been multiple price drops over the past decade, with the current price of $18.5 million.

There are about 15 homes on the market in the Woody Creek area that are priced between $2 million and $20 million. Ernemann said the average sale price has been about $4.2 million the past few years. However, there's only been two sales so far this year and the average is $8.5 million for them.

Back at the Circle R Ranch, Corey Ruyak, a project sales manager for Concierge Auctions, has been conducting showings to prospective buyers for the past week.

"It's a little bit of a monster to show," he said of the sprawling property. "It takes about two hours."

Comprised of 22,165 square feet, the ranch includes 10 home sites with six single-family homes that offer a combined 22 bedrooms and 23 bathrooms — each with their own mountain contemporary design.

There's historic cabins, storage facilities, agricultural buildings, barns, a swimming pool, stables and facilities for horses, a private evergreen farm, an outdoor entertaining space by the river, a tennis court, ponds and a playground with swing set and slides.

When Wyly asked a bankruptcy judge in 2015 to list the property, it was noted that it costs $790,000 to operate annually.

Ruyak said his company has auctioned off several other homes in the Roaring Fork Valley. Sellers and brokers seek out Concierge Auctions partly because it has a massive database of high wealth individuals and is known globally.

The Circle R Ranch auction has been heavily publicized in recent weeks, which has attracted interest all over the world, Ernemann said. Some people are flying in just for the day to see the property, he noted.

"We've already seen a dramatic uptick in interest for the property," he said. "The outreach is much stronger than previous efforts."

Ruyak said properties end up with his firm because owners are motivated to accelerate the sale and are realistic about market conditions.

"The auction motivates people to act," Ruyak said. "This sale will set a precedent for years to come."

There will be a live, close-out event at the Little Nell Hotel on Aug. 6 when the sale will be complete. Prospective buyers have to wire a $100,000 deposit to participate and prove that they are liquid for the cash deal.

The brokers get their 2.5 percent commission and the buyer pays 12 percent on the gavel price, which goes to the auction firm.

Ernemann is more bullish on the Woody Creek real estate market than he has been in the past. He said there are buyers in their mid 30s and early 40s who are realizing they can get ranch properties for half of the original listing prices and it's far cheaper to have the improvements already done on the land than doing it themselves.

"The overall Woody Creek market has improved in the last 18 months," he said.

csackariason@aspentimes.com

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