Most of Minturn’s downtown was recently sold to a real estate holding company

The sign welcoming people into Minturn on the north side is covered with snow on Sunday, Jan. 21, in Minturn. Plans haven't been announced for what the block will become.
Chris Dillmann | |

What’s Morgan Reed?

According to the company’s website: “The Morgan Reed Group holds residential, commercial, retail and industrial properties in the Northeast (Plymouth, Massachusetts; Hartford, New Haven and Norwalk, Connecticut; and Buffalo and New York City, New York), Southeast (Miami, Florida), Midwest (Chicago, Illinois; and Cleveland, Ohio) and Western United States (Denver, Vail and Mount Princeton, Colorado).”

MINTURN — Most of this town’s downtown commercial area changed hands recently, but what that means is still uncertain.

According to Eagle County records, a local arm of the Morgan Reed Group on Nov. 30, 2017, closed on a deal for several buildings in the 100 block of Main Street in Minturn, most on the west side of the street. That block is home to Magusto’s and the Minturn Country Club, among other businesses. The site is also home to the Minturn Market. County records indicate the sale price was $4 million.

Morgan Reed is a large real estate holding company, with both residential and commercial holdings around the country.

Geographically, perhaps the closest of those holdings is the Mount Princeton Hot Springs south of Buena Vista.

Preserving character

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While the company hasn’t unveiled plans for the area, town of Minturn officials last year approved updated zoning regulations for the block.

“We really worked on protecting the downtown’s character,” Minturn Town Planner Janet Hawkinson said. Preserving that character includes new regulations limiting building height and the scale and size of future buildings.

To help limit sidewalk shading in the tight valley, the new regulations limit building heights to 28 feet.

Going higher would create too much shade in the pedestrian areas, Hawkinson said.

Preserving downtown’s character also includes keeping commercial activity in that part of downtown. The new zoning regulations would allow residential uses on second floors, but first-floor space must remain commercial.

Minturn Mayor Matt Scherr said the zoning regulations make expectations clearer for potential developers.

Morgan Reed didn’t return an email asking for comment before press time, but Pete Seibert, the local real estate broker who handled the deal, said he doesn’t expect quick changes to the company’s holdings in town.

Seibert, who grew up in Vail, said potential buyers of the commercial space talked about many of the same things that prospective home buyers mention.

People looking at Minturn see it as a “real town,” Seibert said. That can appeal to people looking for property near, but not in, resort areas.

Seibert said his impressions of Morgan Reed were shaped, in part, by the company’s ownership of the Mount Princeton Hot Springs.

The company has owned that property for more than a decade now, Seibert said, and has made incremental improvements to the facility.

The hot springs now feature a restaurant, improvements to the spring facilities and the lodge, as well as streamside cabins. The company is also working now on 27 suites.

“It’s gone on over a period of time,” Seibert said.

Evaluating options

While the new owners are still evaluating their options, Seibert said he expects “organic” growth on the block, with the owners focusing on immediate needs.

“It’s a little early to make big predictions,” he said. “Over time, everybody will get to know each other better.”

When the new owners and town officials do sit down to talk about specifics, they’re going to focus on issues beyond just the buildings.

“The challenge there is parking,” Hawkinson said, adding that how to address tight parking in the area will have to be discussed.

Erich Schmidt, a broker for NAI Mountain Commercial in Avon, didn’t have a role in the deal, but his company keeps a close eye on commercial real estate in the valley.

Schmidt said he believes the sale will be a good thing for Minturn in the long run. Any buyer would see some appeal in development that combines both commercial and residential uses, Schmidt said.

Again, though, what that will look like remains an open question.

But, Seibert added, it’s “refreshing” that the new owners aren’t already doing business in the valley. That could mean looking at the block with a fresh perspective. Time will tell.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, and @scottnmiller.

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