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A national real estate developer has an alternative for outdoorsy types whose idea of getting away is not a condo on the ski slopes.Dallas-based developer Jackson-Shaw is offering homesteads on a working cattle ranch near Crested Butte.
“Wilder on the Taylor represents a new movement in real estate development that balances demand for high-end recreational homes with the desire to preserve the legacy and the land of the American West,” said Ron Welborn, vice president of Jackson-Shaw. “Green building practices will be part of the package, but there’s nothing that says everyone who buys there has to have a home. “We believe there are buyers who won’t build,” said Ben Coats, project director. “We’re doing the opposite of development, really. We’re restoring and enhancing the beauty of the land.”The concept of selling 35-acre homesteads on a shared ranch came to Jackson-Shaw Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lewis Shaw during the course of driving by the historic Wapiti Ranch on the way to his second home in Crested Butte. Envisioning a place where families could ski, ride horses, take in some of the best fly-fishing in Colorado and even work cattle, he seized an opportunity to buy 2,000 acres two years ago. The ranch was founded by the Elsinore Cattle Co. in 1910 and contains four restored, historic cabins on the Taylor River that are available to buyers’ guests.Besides putting in utilities and roads, Jackson-Shaw completed a river restoration project and created three miles of meandering fishing stream through a hay meadow. Wilder on the Taylor is surrounded by Gunnison National Forest, which is known for its scenic beauty and wildlife, including large populations of elk.
A community lodge that Coats said will have “spectacular” views of the mountains and Taylor River will include a fitness center, gourmet catering kitchen, infinity pool and other amenities. “We’re trying to really create a community feeling with this lodge and the owners,” said Coats.Jackson-Shaw released 15 homestead sites on the north side of the Taylor River this year. They’re not inexpensive; prices star at $2.9 million. But Coats said buyers would be hard-pressed to get the same acreage and “live water” access on an individually acquired ranch. “They’re getting more for their money in this shared ranch concept,” he said.According to Coats, the kind of buyer that Wilder on the Taylor is seeking hasn’t been as impacted by the recession as others, and based on recent developments, he sees signs of "significant traction” at Wilder next spring. Jackson-Shaw is forming partnership with real estate professionals, including providing them with Web site banners, to help them identify buyers among their own clientele.
With a goal of minimizing impact on the legacy of the land, Wilder on the Taylor will have high standards of green building practices, maintain and enhance water quality, and educate owners and guests about land preservation.“The potential buyer is definitely a unique individual. They’re typically very passionate about the American West and outdoors. They’re typically very avid outdoorsmen or women,” he said. Yet they also are looking for some of the same things people look for in resort homes: proximity to an airport and ski area, shopping and dining, which are available in Crested Butte and Gunnison. Jackson-Shaw has been involved in residential development for the last decade and is widely known as a developer of mixed-use, office and industrial product, as well as high-end boutique hotels
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