Calif. company buys 247 Cotton Ranch lots |

Calif. company buys 247 Cotton Ranch lots

Randy Wyrick

ASW Realty Partners LLC hammered out an agreement with Cotton Ranch owners Tim Garton and Vince Cook to acquire nearly 250 homesites on Cotton Ranch’s upper mesa.”They asked all the right questions,” said Garton. “I’ve been in the development business for 33 years in this county, and I’ve seen companies come and go. They’re here to stay. ASW is making a huge investment in Eagle County.”The tentative agreement calls for ASW will build $100 million in homes as part of Cotton Ranch. Garton and Cook will still own Cotton Ranch and all the facilities.The agreement makes ASW one of Eagle County’s larger home builders. The company is also part of the public-private partnership, along with Eagle County, that will build the 285-unit affordable-housing project on Eagle County’s Berry Creek 5th in Edwards.The raw land ASW is buying covers 142 acres. Garton and Cook still own 19 single-family home lots of Cotton Ranch’s original 309.The final deal is scheduled to close Aug. 15, when the purchase price for the lots will be disclosed.”We pride ourselves on building communities of distinctive quality that offer home buyers a very good value,” said ASW’s Ken Beck. “Cotton Ranch and the town of Gypsum offer a tremendous lifestyle choice, and it will be a pleasure to work with both entities.”Cotton Ranch includes an 18-hole Pete Dye golf course, practice range, clubhouse facilities, outdoor Olympic-size pool, three tennis courts, exercise room and members locker room. The entire project was under contract for sale in 2000 with U.S. Land and Asset Corporation of the South. The deal ultimately fell through. Garton said that since then, they have spent more than $300,000 on capital improvements.ASW has headquarters in Los Angeles and offices in Santa Fe and Steamboat Springs.How the deal got startedBecker said when ASW won the bid to build the county’s Berry Creek 5th project, they started scouting around for other projects to become involved with.Garton said Eagle County Commissioner Tom Stone and his wife, Henri, both real estate professionals with Slifer, Smith & Frampton, brought ASW to his attention.”We were approached by ASW a few months ago,” said Garton.If the deal closes, Slifer, Smith & Frampton will share the commission with the Garton’s Cotton Ranch Land Company.Garton and Cook selected Jo Ellen Nash & Company as listing brokerage for their 19 remaining golf course lots. Garton said Slifer, Smith & Frampton, Stone’s company, isn’t directly involved.Eagle County Administrator Jack Ingstad said that because Stone became acquainted with ASW officials while serving as a county commissioner, both he and Stone consulted with Eagle County Attorney Tom Moorhead about any possible conflict of interest.Ingstad said Moorhead advised them that there was none. Ingstad explained that conflict of interest can occur only when a public official gains financially from a public deal, not a private deal.Because Cotton Ranch is in the town of Gypsum and not unincorporated Eagle County, the county commissioners will never rule on the project.”(Stone) was very up front about it,” said Ingstad. “He was concerned about possible conflict of interest, so he sought out opinions from myself and the county attorney. There isn’t any.””I live in Gypsum and I wanted this project for my community,” said Stone.Pending final town approvals, ASW may begin construction of homes on the 247 upper mesa lots this fall.More good news for GartonThe sale comes as part of a run of good news for Garton, who went through a brutal stem cell transplant procedure to help him win a 12-year battle with cancer.With stem cells transplants, the patient is put in isolation and given severe doses of radiation.”It almost kills you,” said Garton. “Then they save you with your own stem cells.”Garton’s isolation lasted a month, and he said he wasn’t going to negotiate any deals until it was over.”You can’t trust your thinking processes under those circumstances,” said Garton. “ASW was willing to wait.”

Support Local Journalism