Upper mesa of Cotton Ranch sold | VailDaily.com

Upper mesa of Cotton Ranch sold

Scott N. Miller/Eagle Correspondent

Cotton Ranch developers Tim and Mara Garton have sold the 142-acre upper mesa area of their subdivision to ASW Realty Partners, a development company based in Santa Fe, N.M. ASW is currently building the county-sponsored affordable housing project at Miller Ranch in Edwards.

Garton had town approval for 247 home sites on the mesa, which also contains several holes of the Cotton Ranch golf course. LuAnn Welch of ASW said the firm will hold to the approved density, but plans to re-design the lots.

Welch said ASW plans to build homes on about 170 of the lots, with another 75 custom home sites to be offered to individual buyers and builders. The firm plans to build homes in different types of “neighborhood” settings.

Plans for both the custom home lots and a “bungalow” home development call for clustering homes in groups of five or six, said Welch. Other homes will be located on streets that wind around the golf holes, she said. Homes will start in the mid-$300,000 range for the bungalows and start at just under $400,000 for larger homes.

Welch said ASW expects to take about five years to sell all the homes it plans to build, an average of about 35 homes per year. “We believe that’s not an aggressive schedule,” said Welch.

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Home building on the lower mesa hasn’t gone that quickly, though.

Garton noted that while all but 12 of the 297 lots on the lower bench of the project are sold, only about 90 homes have been built in the roughly seven years since the subdivision opened for business. In comparison, the 240-unit Terrace subdivision in Eagle, also a Garton project, was sold out, and essentially built out, within three years in the mid-1990s.

“Bigger projects such as Cotton Ranch take a while to catch on,” Garton said, adding that a slowdown in the national economy starting in 2000, combined with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, slowed down activity at Cotton Ranch.

However, Garton added, as many as 50 homes could be built on the lower part of Cotton Ranch this year. And from the standpoint of his own firm, Garton is now nearly finished with lot sales on the property.

“We actually finished earlier than we thought we would,” he said. “We sold 544 lots in seven years or so. That’s a lot.”

While the Gartons are finished with lot sales at the project, they will still be involved in ownership of the golf course. Together with partners Vince and Kathy Cook, they are still the principal owners of Cotton Ranch LLC, which owns the course. The partners will retain ownership of the course until 2010, when golf club members assume ownership.

Garton said that transfer will take place no matter how many members are in the golf club then. Course membership is an extra-cost option available to all homeowners at Cotton Ranch, including those who purchase homes from ASW.

This story first appeared in the Eagle Valley Enterprise.

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