Vail Daily column: Family or corporate retreat? |

Vail Daily column: Family or corporate retreat?

Joan Harned
Ask a Realtor
Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

I saw an article in the Wall Street Journal last week about owners of corporations buying estates and ranches for corporate retreats. Instead of using huge hotels, they spoke of using the smaller, more intimate venues of villas and acreages​, some​ in and near resorts​. I actually had been thinking about how I could find enough time to use a small ranch I have been looking for. This seems like a great idea. What do you know about this?

Dear Multipurpose Buyer,

I think it is a fabulous idea. I too read the article​ ​in the Wall Street Journal called “Companies Convert Grand Estates Into Corporate Retreats.” Lavish corporate retreats in exotic places with decadent treats and services were popular in the ’70s and ’80s but those are frowned upon now, due to costs and general lifestyle changes. The concept of using your unique property for your business as a retreat to stimulate ideas while allowing others to enjoy your getaway makes a lot of sense. You will need to consult your tax accountant to see if you have write-off benefits besides the joy of having friends and colleagues experience your scenic second home. Most companies these days encourage exercise and fresh air. Hiking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing and similar activities are great compliments to team building and getting fresh ideas.

For example, the Wall Street Journal’s article speaks of Pete Claussen, founder of Knoxville, Tennessee-based Gulf & Ohio Railways who “wanted a place where he could network, brainstorm and schmooze with employees and clients. But instead of booking a hotel in downtown Knowxville — a typical venue in past years — Mr. Claussen bought an 11.5 acre estate.” Mr. Claussen went on to say, “Now we have the opportunity to do lots of things outdoors, which is better for everybody.”

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I know I personally have already been consulted about the retreat idea and I have been thinking about how several of our listings, as well as listings of other agents, could work for this type of endeavor. I think you should have a serious conversation with your experienced real estate agent to help you look at all of the many possibilities in this valley. We have such wonderful properties with 10 to 200 acres or more that are not difficult to get to, but make you feel secluded and private. Our valley also has the great advantage of being easy to get to, whether it is by car or air travel. This is an exciting concept I hope you will pursue!

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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