Bair Chase set to sell
The developer who is gobbling up Snowmass Village has set his sights downvalley as well.Pat Smith is scheduled to complete a purchase of the Bair Chase property between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs today, according to a source who is familiar with the deal but requested anonymity. The sale price is $18.5 million for the 280-acre property, the source said.The purchase will be made by Smith’s privately held development firm, WestPac Investments LLC, and the Related Cos., its high-powered financial partner in other real estate deals, according to the source.Smith oversees development projects in five states but has made it clear he wants to spend more time in the Roaring Fork Valley. He’s snapping up property with a vengeance in Snowmass Village. WestPac and Related Cos. signed a deal last week to buy the commercial component of Base Village – the 1-million-square-foot development at the base of Snowmass Ski Area. They purchased the property from the Aspen Skiing Co. and Intrawest Corp.Smith had earlier cut a deal to buy most of the residential portion of Base Village. He is a partner in groups that also own the Snowmass Center and part of the Snowmass Mall. That places him in control of the majority of commercial property in Snowmass Village.Smith is also co-developer of The Residence Club at The Little Nell.Smith was mentioned in downvalley real estate circles last week as a successful bidder for the Bair Chase property. Smith and other officials in his company ignored numerous requests for comment on the alleged deal. The purchase couldn’t be confirmed until Wednesday.Bair Chase is located on a former ranch along Highway 82 where Cattle Creek spills into the valley floor. A former owner, Bair Chase Property LLC, had approvals from Garfield County for an 18-hole golf course, 62 single-family-home lots and 168 multi-family residences, but it went bankrupt before development. The firm’s lender, PlainsCapital Bank of Dallas, foreclosed on the property in April and actively sought a buyer when Bair Chase Property’s deadline to cure the loan expired in October.The property was also the site of the Sanders Ranch proposal, a large project that was widely opposed by midvalley residents and ultimately rejected by the Garfield County commissioners.Bair Chase Property walked away from millions of dollars in debts and also alienated some locals by bulldozing the historic U76 barn that used to dominate the property and by sending out earth scraping machinery while elk were wintering on the land.The source familiar with the impending sale said Smith and his partner will seek different approvals for a project with less density. “They are likely to drop the golf course,” the source said.They might not have a choice. A key approval from Garfield County for the golf community expired earlier this year, according to Fred Jarman, county planning director. The zoning that allowed a golf course remains in place, he said.The Garfield County commissioners scheduled a hearing for March to determine whether or not to alter that zoning.
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