Vail Daily column: Why so many opportunities in western part of county? | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Why so many opportunities in western part of county?

Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

I own a second home in Beaver Creek and for the first time I am giving thought to doing a development venture in Eagle County. I have checked with a Realtor and discovered numerous opportunities for sizable developments in the Eagle and Gypsum areas. Why are there so many opportunities for sizable tracts of land in Western Eagle County and how does that fit with what is happening in the resort areas?

Dear Property Owner,

The fact that almost all of the new development opportunities are in Western Eagle County is not too difficult to figure out if you look at the property ownership and the geography of the area. As many locals know, over 80 percent of the land in Eagle County is owned by the government, either National Forest or Bureau of Land Management. The other approximate 20 percent of privately owned land i​s mainly located in the valley floors (river and creek drainages). Armed with this information and​ a map​,​ you can see that the Gore Creek/Eagle River valley widens as you proceed west from Vail to the mouth of Glenwood Canyon​, a​s do the tributaries, Brush Creek and Gypsum Creek​. Therefore, there just is more usable, privately owned land as you move ​from East Vail to Gypsum. Now you add the fact that most of the land that was developed first was around the ski areas, and once again you are looking west for more new development of any size.

​The above facts are no secret, so​ many forward thinking developers started ​purchasing Western Eagle County land years ago and even got several plans approved for large residential and/or commercial developments west of Edwards. The economic slowdown put many of them on hold​ and or sank some of them​. Currently, with the economy ​picking up on many fronts,​ interest has returned, along with multiple opportunities for investors right now. ​Many of these large parcel​s​ ended up in the hands of lenders, who do not care to own land, but had no choice with non-payment in a difficult economy.​ It is very pleasant to now see that the investors are coming in with interest​ that​ we have not seen for many years.​ Be sure you find a knowledgeable Realtor that knows the area and has the history to inform you about everything that is on the market and may be coming on the market in the near future.​

​As far as how this fits with what is happening in the actual resort areas, to me it is an essential part of the resorts success. When most of us moved here (some of us in the ’70s) we lived in or near Vail. As time passes, many of the original reasons for moving to the valley expand. Singles get married and have families, ​those who stay single decide they want a dog, a yard and a garage. And many of the “original settlers” decide they would like to play more golf, shovel less snow and have more oxygen to breathe on a daily basis. Western Eagle county is almost 2,000 feet lower in elevation than Vail and therefore provides many differences in a short amount of distance on a great interstate. The towns west of Vail provide the “affordable luxury” to be able to have more amenities for changing lifestyles. We appreciate you and others looking forward into the future to have this valley provide accommodations for a wide variety of wants and needs of our ever growing population. Best of luck to you!

Joan Harned is an owner-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 Joan@TeamBlackBear.com, 970-337-7777 or http://www.SkiAndTee Homes.com.