Letter: Tennessee Pass rail revival isn’t dead yet
The recent headline in the Vail Daily didn’t quite tell the truth. It claims that a “Firm drops interest in Tennessee Pass rail line.” This is the old abandoned rail line that runs from Dotsero through Eagle County and beyond Minturn — smack through the middle of Edwards and Avon.
Reading the article, what really happened is that Colorado Pacific’s offer to buy the rail line from Union Pacific was turned down. However, on New Year’s Eve, 2020, a lease was signed between the renamed Colorado Midland & Pacific Railway and Union Pacific.
That tells me that “the firm” never did drop its interest in the Tennessee Pass rail line. It just changed the way it could, depending on the terms of the lease, continue with its plans to reopen that line.
This kind of transaction is becoming more and more common in commercial real estate. The owner of a property sells the land under their building and then leases it back. They do much better using their dollars in operations than letting their money sit idle under their building. The big billion-dollar casinos on the strip in Las Vegas have been doing that for a couple of years. The buyer of many parcels of land on which those casinos sit is traded on the NYSE as VICI.
While there was no sale/leaseback of the railway, there is a conventional “lease” of the Tennessee Pass rail line in its place. “The firm” has definitely not dropped its interest. It’s still there in a different form. We need to keep focused on what may come next.
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