Mirr Ranch Group Brokers the Purchase of the University of Denver’s New Mountain Campus

The off-market Magic Sky Ranch was identified and purchased for $11.25 million.

The University of Denver (DU) recently acquired the Magic Sky Ranch in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado for $11.25 Million. Mirr Ranch Group (MRG) Senior Vice President, Daniel Carter brokered the off-market transaction in cooperation with fellow MRG Senior Vice President, Jared Souza.

Recently featured in the press, the University’s plan for the Colorado ranch is to develop a complementary mountain campus to its bustling urban setting and incorporating Colorado’s thriving outdoor opportunities to provide a more enhanced student experience. The property, which will now be known as the James C. Kennedy Mountain Campus, consists of 724 acres of land and almost 60,000 square feet of buildings.

“The University worked with Mirr Ranch Group to perform advanced due diligence for 20+ properties arriving at an ideal solution for the Mountain Campus. They proved to be ideal partners for the University and our Real Estate Office by providing timely and expert analysis, each step in the journey. It is evident that DU’s alumni continue to excel and we are very proud of their commitment to achieving positive outcomes for the University.”

– Allan Wilson, DU’s Director of Real Estate & Auxiliaries

Magic Sky Ranch - Colorado ranches for sale - campus

When the University began its process to identify a suitable property for the campus, they knew they could count on their alumni. A few years ago, they had contacted Mirr Ranch Group’s founder, Ken Mirr, a DU Sturm College of Law graduate (‘86), to help sell a university-owned Wyoming property. MRG’s Wyoming representative, Jared Souza, successfully sold the Laramie-area ranch. Building upon this successful relationship with Mirr, DU worked with Souza and Carter, who is a recent graduate of the Executive MBA program at DU’s Daniels College of Business, to represent the University’s unique real estate needs for this transaction.

“We are very pleased to have had alums assist us in locating and helping execute settlement on such an ideal property for the mountain campus. Mirr Ranch Group did an outstanding job representing the University and took special care to ensure every question was answered fully,” said Jeremy Haefner, Chancellor at the University of Denver.

What the Brokerage Team Had to Say

“The Chancellor’s vision for a mountain campus will be a major differentiator for the University moving forward. While most academic institutions are continuing to focus on remote and virtual learning environments, DU is doubling down on authentic and tangible connections to the natural environment and innovative outdoor programming. I am a big supporter of this effort and it was a privilege to have played a small part in beginning to execute this vision. As a new member of the DU alumni community it is that much more exciting for me personally.”

Daniel Carter

“I am proud to have had another opportunity to work with DU and getting to represent them as a seller and now as a buyer. It’s a career highlight for me. Daniel and I devoted a lot of time and resources to this transaction and knowing the intentions to enhance the 4D Experience for DU students made it even more personal. This property will now offer students a unique experience in the outdoors and provides another tool for their ‘foundation of learning.’ We worked with a terrific real estate team and were fortunate enough to be the brokerage that put the pieces together.”

Jared Souza

Finding Off-Market Properties for Our Clients

Over approximately 8 months, MRG worked closely with DU’s internal real estate team to identify and procure viable opportunities that fit the project’s distinctive criteria.

“Most ranches do not lend themselves well to being built out into campuses, so there are limited possibilities to begin with, and in the currently volatile land market, we were up against an even greater challenge to deliver the right scenario. It became apparent throughout the journey that a property with existing infrastructure and commercial design would offer a greater value for DU,” said Carter.

Given the conditions of the rural land real estate market across Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West, there was simply nothing publicly for sale that fit the bill. Utilizing MRG’s deep network and market knowledge, Carter and Souza began to canvas off-market possibilities and introduced the Magic Sky Ranch. The property was owned by the Girl Scouts of Colorado and had a significant build-out of existing infrastructure to support several hundred individuals that had been used as a summer camp and educational facility.

Once the ranch was selected as a contender to pursue, Carter and Souza dug in to help navigate a complex negotiation and multifaceted due diligence process leading to the eventual closing on September 27, 2021.

“The University of Denver is fortunate to have a very qualified team and external support group with deep experience and expertise. From the leadership and Board of Trustees to its internal Real Estate unit and outstanding alumni network, this was a team effort from top to bottom. It will be a joy to watch as the mountain campus vision continues to unfold. I know it will have a meaningful influence on DU’s future generations,” said Carter.

Magic Sky Ranch closing
Key players at the closing. From left to right: Daniel Carter (Broker for Mirr Ranch Group), Jeremy Haefner (Chancellor at the University of Denver), Allan Wilson (DU’s Director of Real Estate & Auxiliaries), and Nicole Nies (Attorney for DU).

Learn More About the New DU Mountain Campus

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