Crested Butte and Gunnison County have recently been on the forefront of Colorado’s land conservation movement, thanks in part to several large-scale, public-private conservation projects. In early 2015, Crested Butte Land Trust purchased Snodgrass Trailhead (a Mirr Ranch Group listing), protecting significant wetlands and wildlife habit, while also ensuring permanent public trail access to Snodgrass Mountain. Currently, a team of private individuals, non-profit organizations, and government entities are in the final stages of conserving approximately 6,000 acres of ranchland that stretches from the Gothic Valley to Gunnison. See an excellent video of the project below:
Such ambitious conservation projects help to ensure that the character of the Gunnison Valley will remain intact for generations to come—that ranches, rivers, scenic vistas, and open spaces will be protected in perpetuity, which will help offset the impact of Colorado’s inevitable population growth. Large conservation projects, combined with an already high ratio of public to private land, further reduce the amount of private, unencumbered land in and around Crested Butte. Economics 101 tells us that a decrease in the supply of large parcels will eventually lead to increased demand, which ultimately creates an attractive opportunity surrounding the remaining large parcels.
Promontory Ranch is one of the few remaining large, unencumbered parcels that offers potential for responsible development, land conservation, or a combination of both.
Promontory Ranch accounts for approximately 12% of the private land in the town of Mt. Crested Butte and has very generous entitlements that make it the logical choice for a future ski village. The 156-acre parcel is surrounded by National Forest, Town of Mt. Crested Butte property, Gothic Road, and one private land owner, creating a buffer that protects the property from infringing/competing neighboring development, while ensuring that any development of the parcel is contained within a well-defined area. These factors make it one of the most attractive real estate investment opportunities near a major U.S. ski resort.
The opportunity is equally appealing from a conservation standpoint. Given the property’s dense entitlements, significant state tax credits and federal tax deductions would be available to anyone who chooses to conserve it. With Gunnison County and Crested Butte being such a hotbed of conservation activity, the property would be highly coveted by local, statewide, and national conservation groups.
The ideal use for the property is likely a blend of development and conservation. An investor could extinguish a portion of the development rights (for example, reduce density from the allowed 1,800 residential units down to 1,200) and enjoy tax benefits while retaining enough density to build a profitable ski village. Such a scenario would allow for the continued growth of the local economy and recreational opportunities, while simultaneously ensuring responsible, appropriately sized future development—a win-win-win for citizens, business, and conservation.