Briefs: Ranch serves as CO Springs, Denver buffer+

FYI: Large Ranches
Read an interesting article in the May issue of Colorado BIZ on the remaining large tracts of land in Colorado — and who owns what. The Greenland Ranch has become a permanent development buffer between Colorado Springs and Denver – particularly on the west side of I-25. The 21,000-acre parcel (straddling both sides of the highway) was purchased by John Malone, cable TV magnate, several years ago from Ed Gaylord. For those new to the area, the sale was negotiated by the Conservation Fund’s Colorado office in a public/private land deal. Mounting estate taxes have forced numerous smaller landowners to sell to mega-buyers or to place a conservation easement on their land, restricting how their property may be used and reducing its value and tax liability.
Eight of the ten largest ranches in the state are located south of Denver – including the 180,000 Forbes Trinchera Ranch near Ft. Garland. Interesting note: The owner of the 77,500-acre Taylor Ranch in the San Luis Valley is Lou Pai, a former Enron executive.

Clevenger Ranch Break Up On the Horizon
Speaking of large ranch properties, behind the scenes in southern Colorado, Billy Peetz, owner and manager of Ranch Land Development, LLC has attracted several prospects to his 32,000-acre Clevenger Ranch, just 15 miles west of Pueblo. The land borders the Arkansas River and a state park in some places. Among its many features, the property includes 700 million tons of easily accessible Fort Hayes limestone (the hardest and best for cement production, says publicist, Julie Andrews) and gravel, which Peetz says sells for about 10 cents a ton. The investor purchased the land last year for $8.4 and put $9.2 million into improvements and geological studies. Today’s asking price is $25 million. Seven of the eight original parcels for sale (one 2,200-acre parcel has been sold to Colorado Springs-based Rocky Mountain Materials) may be purchased separately or in their entirety. 13,800 acres is considered a working ranch with fully operating facilities – and is horse and cattle ready. According to Peetz, several prospective buyers have come forward – but no contracts yet. Three of those are companies that mine aggregate – two others are investor-developers.
“I’ve had all kinds of interest,” says Peetz, “but it’s cash that makes the deal. I’ve taken the property from $300 to $750 per acre – and my due diligence requirement is 75 days.” I thought those of you in commercial real estate might be interested to know that the alternative to development would be limestone and gravel mining…Peetz says some of the land along the river and Lake Pueblo State Park is beautiful – and the acreage is large enough to support multiple uses.

New from Coldwell Banker
Last year Coldwell Banker’s commercial affiliates reported more than $10 billion in sales — record-setting sales volume resulting from 25,000 transactions. The company, headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, saw 119 percent increase in sales over the year 2000 when revenues reached $5.5 billion. Jay Carlson, manager of the Colorado Springs office, attended the firm’s national conference this spring and came back ready to make things happen. As a part of the Coldwell Banker Commercial Front Range growth strategy, Carlson announced the addition of three veteran brokers to his staff. They include J.B. Isaac, industrial specialist; Chris Barnett, retail broker; and Clint Darnell, industrial broker. The Colorado Springs Coldwell Banker Commercial office opened in 1999.

Jay Carlson Receives Industry Recognition
And while we’re talking about Coldwell Banker, it is important to note that Jay Carlson, who is serving as this year’s RCIS president, was elected as the Realtors Commercial Industrial Society’s Realtor of the Year. Carlson has specialized in retail leasing and land development since 1983. He is the managing broker and principal of Coldwell Banker Commercial Front Range, formed in 1999. Prior to that, he was a principal owner in The Summit Commercial Group. Carlson’s background also includes five years, from 1985-1990, as director of leasing for Patrick M. Nesbitt Associates, then the largest retail developer. While there, he was responsible for all phases of leasing for more than one million square feet of retail property. Among his many lease negotiations, he has worked with the big names in retail – from Wal-Mart to Best Buy and PetSmart. Carlson was recognized this year for his past and present involvement with RCIS, overall sales and leasing production, and for his community service.

RCIS Golf Tournament Set for August 16
Denise McMillon heads up this year’s RCIS golf tournament committee. She says the tournament, which typically draws 70 to 80 realtors and guests, is slated for Friday, August 16 at Cheyenne Shadows Golf Course on Ft. Carson. The cost – just $50 per person for members and $70 per person for non-members. Fees cover greens fee, carts, lunch, dinner and refreshments. As in tournaments past, prizes will be awarded for a hole-in-one; betting hole; putting contest; closest-to-the-pin; longest drive and the most accurate drive. Fortunately that means even once-a-year players will make the cut. Call 475-8800 for more information.

Denise McMillon Receives Recognition
Congratulations to Denise McMillon, marketing representative with Commonwealth Land Title, for being named Associate of the Year by her RCIS colleagues. As one of the organization’s most devoted members, she currently heads the Social Committee – and was previously named the RCIS Associate of the Year in 1999. Some people make their professional hard work look easy (Of course, it’s not.) – Denise is one such individual.

Sterling Homes Strikes Deal in Stratton Forest
For those of you interested in high-end residential real estate, Brian Pfeffer over at Sterling Homes says the company has acquired four custom home sites in Stratton Forest (owned by The Classic Companies). Chuck Pfeffer, a MAME award-winning builder with a 30-year track record in the business sees the acquisition as a way to “jump out of the box to set new trends that some of the other areas of town would not support because of the market or lot sizes.” One of Sterling’s sites is already pre-sold, and according to Pfeffer, Stratton Forest is tapping pent-up desire by prospective homebuyers for high-quality, foothills custom lots. According to the upscale homebuilder, most lots range in size from one to two acres, and custom homes begin at about $1.5 million.

New Mortgage Company Opens to the North
Ricardo Gomez, Senior Vice President of CityFirst Mortgage Company sent along an announcement of his company’s opening at 7035 Campus Drive, Suite 901. Gomez says that his mortgage counselors have more than 35 years combined experience in mortgage financing for single and multi-family units, owner and non-owner occupied properties – and offer a complete line of closing and processing services. “We are among the city’s first mortgage companies providing not only Spanish-speaking capability, but also in-house underwriting,” he said. The company just opened in February 2002.