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A billion-dollar resort is born

Bill Clinkenbeard
Peter M. Fredin/Special to the Daily The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera overlooks Edwards in this photo from July, 2003.
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Editor’s note: This is the final installment in the serialization of Bill Clinkenbeard’s “Cordillera: From the Ground Up,” the story of the initial development of the resort. Bill can be reached at 748-0971 or via e-mail, billclink@comcast.net. In 2002, Cordillera became a billion dollar resort. The Eagle County Abstract of Assessments and Levies for 2002 shows the assessed valuation of Cordillera I and II properties is $102,591,460. According to the county, this is 9.15 percent of actual market value. Thus, the market value of Cordillera I and II in 2002 was over one billion dollars ($1,121,218,142). Property taxes collected were $4,142,450.I had commissioned a financial analysis of Cordillera in 1990 that included a forecast of assessed valuation and property taxes, 1991 through 2003. In that analysis, the forecasted market value in 2002 for Cordillera was $1,163,440,000, amazingly close to the actual.

Where the forecast broke down was in predicting tax revenue. The forecast showed tax revenues of $1,177, 279, only a fraction of the $4,142, 450 actually collected. Higher than expected taxes is not a unique situation. Felix had a national search conducted for a new project manager in late 1992. He selected Michael Yates who lasted less than a year. Felix then appointed Gerry Engle to manage the project. While I was still the managing partner at Cordillera, the owners of a property in Edwards, on the north side of I-70, approached me about joining with them in developing a golf community. We had too much on our plate at the time, but I told them to keep the door open for us as long as they could. In 1994, after months of negotiations, it was announced that Cordillera would become the managing general partner of the new Wildhorse residential community and its golf course, which was designed by Tom Fasio. Later Cordillera acquired all of the interests in that property and it became the Cordillera Valley Course. This was Cordillera’s second 18-hole golf course.

A David Pelz par-three course was built in 1995, on the northern parcel, where the Kensington Green subdivision was built. This course, which is designed to help develop a golfer’s short game, was an offshoot of the original plan to put a golf academy there.A third 18-hole golf course, the Summit, was commissioned in 2003. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, it is located on property that Cordillera acquired from Fred Kummer, west of the mountain course. This completed the forward plans to establish Cordillera as a leading golf resort.Cordillera is now in a conversion phase in which the owner, the Posen family interests, is turning over ownership of the development to Cordillera property owners and possibly others. Utilities, roads, the golf courses, golf course memberships, and other properties are involved. The Lodge was sold in December, 2003 to the Utah-based Pharos Group in a joint venture with the VEF Group of Land Lease Estate Investments. They plan to double the number of lodge rooms and to build some interval ownership units near the lodge. The new owners removed the porte cochere, gutted the European style interior and redid it with a modern decor, changed the restaurant name from “Picasso” to “Mirador”, and enlarged the spa. They turned over management to RockResorts, a subsidiary of Vail Resorts.

Since leaving Cordillera, I have been involved in several real estate activities including managing the development of the Silver Mountain Preserve project, a new ranch community in LaVeta, Colo., and helping with the Red Mountain Ranch project in Eagle, Colorado. I recently formed Anexstar, a consortium of brokers specializing in private real estate offerings in Colorado, Florida and North Carolina.Vail, Colorado


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