Iconic Property to Be Protected as Open Space
Sandstone Ranch, a scenic 2,038-acre property between Denver and Colorado Springs, was recently acquired by Douglas County Open Space. This unique landscape, with its brilliantly colored red rock formations, creeks, irrigated meadows, historic improvements and adjacency to national forest was marketed by Mirr Ranch Group of Denver, Colo., and was purchased for $18,750,000 with sales and use tax revenue from the Douglas County Open Space Fund.
“We recognize that the Sandstone Ranch acquisition is so much more than just the preservation of 2,038 acres,” said Roger Partridge, on behalf of the Board of County Commissioners. “It is the preservation of the County’s history, heritage, wildlife habitat, as well as other cultural and natural resources – a quality of life investment for present and future generations.”
The property had an approved rural site plan to develop 114 equestrian lots and recently there was significant interest in development due to the booming real estate market in the Denver metro area. The county previously identified the property as a high priority for protection due to its numerous conservation values, including historic, geologic, and cultural features, wildlife habitat, irrigated hay fields, and significant opportunities for public recreation. With a recent price reduction, the county seized the opportunity to acquire the ranch as interest was on the rise from other private buyers and developers.
“This purchase marks an extraordinary move by Douglas County, and it took a collaborative effort to get this done. In over 25 years in handling conservation properties throughout the West, Sandstone Ranch may be one of most remarkable landscapes in the Front Range and worthy of protection,” said Ken Mirr, Owner/Broker with Mirr Ranch Group.
In addition to the Douglas County Open Space Fund, the county is working with the Chatfield Reservoir Mitigation Company. The group plans on contributing $6 million to the purchase given the outstanding ecological resources that will be protected and used for mitigation impacts to habitat caused by the expansion of Chatfield Reservoir. The county is also pursuing a $3.5 million grant from Great Outdoors Colorado. This purchase represents the largest acquisition Douglas County Open Space has ever undertaken.
Sandstone Ranch will be open to the public for non-motorized use. The county is considering continuation of the ranching operations, public recreation and educational opportunities, forest management, and protection of cultural and natural resources as well as historic structures.
The sale comes on the heels of an unprecedented 2017 for Mirr Ranch Group. The group sold the expansive 83,000 acre Cielo Vista Ranch with its private fourteener, Culebra Peak, last August, and list the $100 million Cross Mountain Ranch, a legacy offering covering 4 counties and over 224,000 total acres in northwestern Colorado.