Prime ranch land on the auction block Saturday |

Prime ranch land on the auction block Saturday

Janet Urquhart

The fate of 1,810 acres of ranch land featuring stunning vistas and prime elk habitat north of Carbondale will be determined Saturday at 1 p.m.

That’s when the R.M. Laurence estate will go on the auction block.

“We expect quite a good turnout on Saturday,” said Julie Somerville, associate broker with Joe Hicks Real Estate and Auction Service in Grand Junction. Potential buyers from as far as California and Texas and as close as Aspen and Denver have expressed an interest, she said.

The ranch, consisting of two separate parcels, has been divided into 33 parcels ranging in size from 35 to 200 acres. Two parcels contain ranch homes. A cabin dating back to the 1800s is also located on the ranch.

“I don’t know if it will sell as 33 parcels or one whole piece, but it will sell,” Somerville said. “It is beautiful.”

Preservation of the land from development is on the minds of at least two potential bidders, she added.

“We have some people who are looking at buying it for conservancy reasons,” Somerville said. “At least two brokers have contacted us with clients interested in conservancy.”

Somerville declined to speculate on what price the ranch might fetch.

The lower portion of the ranch is a 480-acre parcel at the intersection of Red Canyon and Catherine Store roads, bordering Bureau of Land Management land. It has been divided into parcels ranging from 35 to 120 acres that include rolling pastures and irrigated hay meadows.

The lower parcel also includes the ranch homes. The auction will take place at 11104 County Road 115 (Red Canyon Road).

The upper parcel, 1,330 acres bordering Consolidated Reservoir and BLM land, offers aspen trees, elk habitat and views of Mount Sopris. It has been divided into parcels ranging from 40 to 200 acres.

The ranch now belongs to the son and daughter of the late Rufus Merrill Laurence, according to Somerville.

“The estate taxes are basically forcing this sale,” she said. “They were just raising cows on it. With the value of the land, you just can’t afford to do that.”

Ranch equipment and 35 head of cattle will be auctioned off first, at 11 a.m., before the real estate.

The real estate auction will begin by setting a price per acre. The high bidder may then select the parcels he or she wants at that price – or bid on the entire ranch.

If the land is auctioned off by parcel, after the high bidder makes his or her selection, the process will be repeated until the lands are sold, Somerville said.

Then the auctioneer will again open up bidding to acquire the entire ranch, starting at a price that is 5 percent more than the aggregate of the individual bids for parcels, she said.

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