Business Monday: Aspen native takes second-home experience to Los Cabos
In 2007, before the financial collapse, Aspen native Ryan Elston and some investors made an offer on a private golf club and residential community in Los Cabos, Mexico.
The deal didn’t materialize because of the Great Recession, but Elston kept in touch with the development’s CEO, who in the summer of 2017 said he was ready to entertain another offer.
“We made a deal,” Elston said.
Now, Elston is president of the real estate division of Querencia, and the co-owner along with his wife, Lauren.
Elston’s in-laws and other investors put $60 million in upgrades to the development, including a Tom Fazio-designed golf course, which GolfDigest ranks among the world’s top 100.
They also hired Arkansas-based Progressive Trail Design, which built the mountain-bike trails at Sky Mountain Park and Sunnyside, to construct a 7-mile trail.
A speaker series, similar to the ones held at The Aspen Institute, also was created, while Elston said they pushed to make it more family-friendly, with a pool-side water slide and a taco bar, for example. They also built a new beach club and are starting a residential rental program this year. Surf lessons also are offered.
“I’ve been involved in other communities where you go and it’s so restrictive,” Elston said. “Everybody thinks you’re getting nickled and dimed, and what we want to do is be very inclusive and just provide amenities and options for everybody and the whole family to enjoy.”
Through the private club’s vertical membership program, family members also enjoy privileges at Querencia, he said.
The 1,800-acre club and community continues to be developed and 120 homes have been completed, Elston said. Another 13 spec homes are being built, while an equal number of residences are being erected by second-home owners, he said. The homes range in price from $1.2 million to $5.5 million.
“We’re actively building and expanding,” said Elston, also a partner at Aspen Associates Realty.
For Elston and his wife and family, Querencia is an extension of their life. Ryan and Lauren met while going to business school at Notre Dame, and they bought a second-home in Querencia in 2006.
That’s when they got hooked on the location. Now, Elston spends time between Aspen and Querencia.
“Part of the reason and appeal for us is to purchase Querencia was the fact that it is in the same time zone as Aspen,” he said. “It’s a two-and-a-half-hour flight from Denver so the convenience factor is big, and it allows me to be in both places in a short period of time.”
He also noted the traits that Querencia and Aspen second-home owners share.
“They have very similar lifestyles,” he said, noting Querencia is aimed for the “lifestyle-first consumer and somebody who wants to spend more time with their family, and less time in the car. Someone’s who’s health conscious … people who enjoy being outside and being healthy.”
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