NEW CASTLE — The long-stalled Lakota Canyon Ranch golf subdivision, recently purchased by Warrior Acquisitions LLC, will soon see a revival of home construction along with the reopening of its golf course, according to one of the principal managers of the project.
Bob Gibson, a partner in the real estate firm Roberts & Michaels, said the plan is for development of about 400 more homes at Lakota Canyon Ranch, in addition to the 170 homes already built.
The project originally was approved about a decade ago, for more than 800 homes, said New Castle Town Planner Tim Cain.
Roberts & Michaels, Gibson said, is handling the development and sales for Warrior Acquisitions, which in turn is the golf-course management group for Warrior Custom Golf of Irvine, Calif.
Gibson said Lakota Canyon Ranch’s development plans can be viewed as a sign that the area’s real estate market is recovering from the decline that started in 2008, when the national and international economies went into free-fall.
Known nationally and locally as the “bursting of the housing bubble” and the “Great Recession of 2008,” the slump saw housing values in Garfield County and surrounding areas drop precipitously. The slump forced many locals into foreclosure, a consequence that continues but is easing as time progresses and the economy improves.
“I wouldn’t say the boom is returning,” Gibson emphasized. “But definitely the values are catching up very quickly.”
He said planning and government reviews for the first 29 lots in the construction pipeline have begun, and that the next phase of the project will be for 49 lots.
As for Lakota Canyon Ranch’s more distant future, he said, “It’s kind of market driven after that. It’s still tight to build and be able to sell right now. But it’s doable.”
One key observer of the Colorado River corridor real estate market, Danette Dickey of Real Estate Out West, said she believes the market has stopped its downward slight, and welcomed the news about Lakota Canyon Ranch.
“I’m pretty impressed that they’re willing to do this,” said Dickey, current president of the Glenwood Springs Association of Realtors. She added that she knows of no other large-scale construction projects between New Castle and Rifle that are getting set to start building.
Overall, she said of the county’s real estate market, “Things are definitely looking up.”
One clear sign of that, she said, is that foreclosures have fallen every year for the past three years, from 185 in the first quarter of 2011 to 147 in the same period last year and 93 this year.
Plus, she said, housing values are going up instead of down.
“We’ve seen them go up in the last few months,” Dickey said. “Not a lot, but a little bit, which is a lot better than it was before, when it was going straight downhill.”