Who is afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Reintroduction of Wolves to Colorado.

This November Colorado voters will consider approving and funding the reintroduction of Grey Wolves into Colorado, with the goal of having a self-sustaining Gray Wolf population in the state.

Wolves, of course, are some of the most controversial animals on the planet; old northern European fairytales are rife with frightening lupine references.  Wolves remain largely mis-understood. Their packs, hierarchy and behavior continue to be studied.  The question is what, if any, are the consequences of a wolf reintroduction plan in Colorado?

In light of its significance, I’d like to evaluate the facts and history and consider what may be the unintended consequences of this vote, if it passes.

Colorado Wildlife has reported regular wolf sightings over the last few years. The wolves seem to be naturally coming back to Colorado.

One case study to consider: some years ago, elk over-population did serious damage to vegetation in Yellowstone National Park. The reintroduction of wolves and/ or the increase of their population appears to have controlled the elk population and its subsequent impact on the vegetation.

In east San Miguel County, we have a lot of elk and therefore elk damage to vegetation. Could the reintroduction of wolves into Colorado and ultimately the San Juans stop this damage to the vegetation and better balance the ecosystem?

When I moved to Telluride in 1975 elk sightings were few. I consulted Jack Pera, a well-known regional wildlife expert and photographer who owned and operated Timberline Hardware, and asked him where I might spot some of these then elusive animals. In 1990 a wildlife study was done on the elk population on the north side of the San Miguel Valley and Deep Creek Mesa, from above town to Grayhead. In 1990 the elk population was estimated at between 120-150. Fast forward 30 years and that population has increased 10-fold. Why? The reason is simple: few predators and plenty of feed. When the large ranches were in operation—including the Aldasoro Brothers, the Adams and the Alexanders families—they grazed sheep and cattle not only on their substantial holdings but also on all the national forest surrounding their holdings through a permit system. Food was scarce, and high up the mountain, the few elk had to compete with the 5000 plus sheep and hundreds of cattle for food. Alleyoop grazed cattle on the valley floor, thus eliminating food for elk in that location.

That, of course, all changed with the success of the ski area and the subsequent impact of more homes and development. With the approval and inception of several developments Mountain Village, West Meadows, Aldasoro, Lawson Hill etc. a dog prohibition was instituted to counteract the perceived threat to wildlife. Commercial ranching was reduced dramatically, subsequently increasing the feed for deer and elk, causing the elk population to explode. The positive effects are that elk and deer are commonplace and coyotes, bear and mountain lion have become more numerous as well. However, this was an unintended and unexpected consequence of development.

The question that comes logically to mind is: what was it like before the white man showed up and the eco system was supposedly in balance?

Well, we are fortunate because Franklin Rhoda, a member, together with A.D. Wilson (Mount Wilson and Wilson Peak), of the Hayden survey of the territories (then Colorado), kept very good records and Rhoda in his journal made the following entries when describing our area:

“After crossing the canon of the creek above mentioned we came out on a pretty smooth area, covered with scattering timber and fine grass. One thing very peculiar about this particular part of the country is the deathlike stillness that almost oppresses one in passing through it. There is the finest growth of grass I have ever seen in Colorado, with beautiful little groves of pine and quaky asp scattered about, which one would expect to be filled of game. The old trail and the very antiquated appearance of the carvings on the trees, and the absence of all tracks, old or new, indicated that the Indians had abandoned this route long since. With all these conditions, so favorable to animal life, we did not hear a bird twitter in the thickets, and saw neither deer, elk, nor antelope, nor even a single track of one of those animals. In all other parts of the country little squirrels and chipmunks were seen in abundance; but here, if they existed at all, they kept themselves close. We made camp on the large east fork of San Miguel (now the San Miguel itself), just across the stream from station 32 on the map. The next day, September 9, we made station 32, on a low hill on the north side of the creek (on Deep Creek Mesa), which from its width might more properly be called a river (again the San Miguel). Above this for several miles the stream -bed is very flat and covered with willows (the Telluride Valley Floor), while the stream itself winds like a great snake. A short distance below our station the stream plunges down very abruptly into the canon of the San Miguel (Keystone Gorge), which, above and below this junction, cuts down from 800 to 1,000 feet into the sandstone which here makes its appearance. Leaving station 32 on our way to Mount Sneffels, we followed the trail a short distance, and then, turned off to the right, with great difficulty succeeded in descending to the bed of the creek flowing from the northeast (probably Deep Creek).  In this vicinity we saw a band of six gray wolves, the first we have seen during the season.”

“Ascent of Mount Sneffels. The weird stillness of high altitudes, only served to heighten the appearance of desolation about us, and gave one the idea that all nature was dead… We reached the pass at last… The claw-marks on the rocks, on either side of the summit of the pass, showed that the grizzly had been before us. We gave up all hope of ever beating the bear climbing mountains. Several times before, when, after terribly difficult and dangerous climbs, we had secretly chuckled over our having outwitted Bruin at last, some of the tribe had suddenly jumped up not far from us and taken to their heels over the loose rocks. Mountain sheep we had beaten in fair competition, but the bear was “one too many for us”.

Rhoda leaves us with this question: was this band of Gray wolves and perhaps others, along with the grizzlies responsible for the lack of wildlife in our area in 1874? Would the reintroduction of wolves decimate the elk, deer and other wildlife? I guess if this November’s ballot initiative is approved, we will leave it to our grandchildren to figure out if this was a prudent move.

Again, the law of unintended consequences could have its effect.

Dirk DePagter

Market report on Commercial properties in the Town of Telluride

It has been a while since I did my last commercial property bulletin. A lot of this has been due to my personal involvement first with the Town of Telluride Town Council formed Commercial Zoning Task Force (CZTF) and subsequently the initiative proposed by Planning and Zoning Commission members on residential restrictions in our commercial zone districts. This proposal ultimately led to these topics becoming election issues in this past month’s election.

Notable transactions including various commercial properties and homes for sale in Telluride, CO in 2016 and to date 2017:

Whole Building Sales:

  • The Strong House, 283 South Fir, sold for $2,600 MLS #33887
  • The Belmont Building, 124 East Colorado, sold for $2,200,000 MLS #32628

Commercial Condominium sales:

  • Fly me to the Moon/O’Bannon’s, 132 East Colorado, sold for $1,000,000 MLS #33670
  • Miramonte Building/ Dave Ed unit 4, 333 West Colorado, sold for $652,614 MLS #33393
  • Old Arroyo Space, 220 East Colorado Ave, sold for $988,000 MLS #34233
  • Art House Corner of Fir and Pacific, sold for $835,000 MLS #33923
  • Eye care store, 395 East Colorado, sold for $550,000 MLS #34373
  • Pack it Ship it, Old Watch Space 125 West Pacific, sold for $479,000 MLS #32379
  • There Restaurant space, 627 West Pacific, sold for $570,000 MLS #34610
  • Cimarron Condominium C6 & C7, 300 Mahoney, sold for $718,000 MLS #34170

The following office spaces sold:

  • Steel’s office, 126 West Colorado Ave, sold for $425,000 MLS #34855
  • New San Juan Office suites 211 & 212, 220 East Colorado Ave. sold for $265,000 MLS #34260

Vacant Land:

  • 219 West Pacific, sold for $880,000 MLS #35504

Notable withdrawn properties:

  • Old Bank Building 109 West Colorado, latest asking $2,950,000 MLS #34603

Availability in the commercial sector is very slim and limited.

Current whole structure commercial properties listed include:

  • 115 West Colorado, Asking price $4,995,000 MLS #35263
  • Bell Building, 217 West Colorado, Asking price $3,250,000 MLS #32563
  • Old Bank Building 109 West Colorado, Recently expired latest ask $2,950,000 MLS #34603
  • 121 North Pine Storage/Residential, Asking price $3,000,000 MLS #34234

Commercial Spaces listed:

  • Fir House Commercial 2, Asking price $1,425,000 MLS #33928
  • Fir House Commercial 1, Asking price $1,010,000 MLS #33926
  • 215 East Colorado, Hell Bent Leather, Asking price $995,000 MLS #34908

Under contract:

  • 110 South Pine, Asking price $550,000 MLS #35490

A few notable changes in business moves and startups:

  • Taco Del Gnar opened up at 123 South Oak
  • SMART transit service is moving into the commercial space in the Spruce Street House on the corner of Spruce and Pacific.
  • The Town of Telluride is planning to move forward with the construction of the building on south Fir and Pacific on what is locally known as the S.M.P.A. lot. This building will contain underground parking, The Ah- Haa School for the Arts and Affordable Housing.
  • The Merriweather four corners project is moving along, one building on the corner of Fir and Pacific is complete. The Transfer warehouse is getting a facelift to be conveyed to Telluride Arts, and the main building to the south of the Transfer warehouse is coming out of the ground.
  • Of the two buildings south of the Library on Pine, one is nearly complete and one is just starting construction. I am not aware of who will occupy the commercial spaces in these buildings.
  • The Pederson building on Colorado Ave. on the corner of south Aspen is undergoing an extensive remodel and expansion.
  • Down to Earth was sold to Lauren Reed and the business was moved to South Oak underneath the Visitors center.
  • Angel Baskets is occupying the Old Belmont (Down to Earth old space) this holiday season.
  • The Senate Building on South Spruce is nearing completion.
  • The old Wagner Gallery on 120 North Fir is totally being remodeled into residential units.
  • No news regarding the state of the Hotel Ajax, unfortunately.

Enjoy this overview, feel free to contact me with questions about commercial property.

Dirk dePagter

Mountain range

Top Things to Consider when Purchasing Land

Many of our clients that are looking for homes for sale in Telluride, CO are also intrigued in the prospect of purchasing land for their dream home or another future investment. Buying land is a great option but there are some things to consider when purchasing it or any piece of real estate.

We’ve outlined some important topics to discuss with your real estate agent when you’re in the market for land for sale.

Zoning and Setbacks

Most buyers looking for land as the site of a future home will only be looking at residential zones, but there are several other zone classifications for land. Land can be designated for use as commercial, industrial, agricultural, mixed-use, residential, and so on. The local planning department keeps track of land parcels and their accompanying zones. This department can also tell you if there are any building setbacks imposed on the property so you can determine the size of house you are legally able to build on the land.

Access Rights

When buying land or homes in residential areas, it’s often not a concern about having access to your property, but for undeveloped land you’ll need to ensure you have legal access to your property, especially through roads or right-of-way designations. Know what rights your neighbors or local agencies have as well, so you’re not trespassing on property that’s not yours and so you can protect the property that is. You’ll also want stipulations in your contract saying the access is transferable if you should ever sell your land in the future and that it’s not revocable by another party.

It’s also important here to mention easements, the use of someone else’s property for a specific use. Perhaps your local government has an easement on your property for a future road right where you’ve planted a garden or built a barn.

Roads

Having access to roads or the potential to build roads is extremely important when considering buying land. Similar to access rights, if your property is landlocked and there are no roads to use, how will you legally get to your property without trespassing? You can also use an easement with your neighbors to build a road through their property but don’t expect to get an easement like that for free.

Mineral Rights

These are rights that many buyers overlook or don’t think long-term about. Owning the mineral rights on your property ensures that no third parties can touch your land to access the minerals without your permission. If your deed does not grant you mineral rights, you may be poorly compensated as a mining company tears up and digs in your lawn or garden.

Power

The ability to have power and utilities can make or break a contract. Even if you can see power lines from the piece of land, it doesn’t guarantee that the power company has to provide you with it. Know the local power company’s rules and the availability of electricity to the land before you’re cut off from the outside world. When assessing utilities, you’ll also want to take into consideration trash services and how far away the nearest garbage collection center is.

Water, Sewer and Drainage

Will your parcel have access to the city’s water supply and sewage system or will you have the right to outfit your property on your own? If you can put in your own, be sure to test the land and systems before buying. A percolation test or “perk test” evaluates how quickly water drains through the soil and should be done before purchase to see if the property can have a septic system on-site.If you can’t build on the property or properly connect with utilities, this probably won’t be a wise purchase as the spot for your new home.

Taxes

You’ll want to understand the tax rate on the property as well and make sure that it’s in proportion to the value of the land.

Previous Use

Previous use is important for commercial properties to understand how the land was used before and if there are any environmental concerns or contaminations. When purchasing this type of land, many banks will actually require certain environmental or risk reports to be filed to ensure they’re adequately representing the collateral.

These are some important considerations for purchasing land but buying land can be an excellent choice with amazing benefits depending on your real estate needs. Under the right circumstances, purchasing land is a solid investment but like any real estate purchase, it must be considered carefully and thoroughly.

Still have questions about buying land in Telluride, CO? We’re happy to help by answering your questions or providing more information on the process and requirements. Please contact us when you’re ready.

Commercial Market Bulletin

Commercial Real Estate Updates

Commercial Properties in the Town of Telluride

The commercial property market segment in Telluride has seen serious activity and momentum.

The significant 2013 commercial sales were:

  • Mahr Building, 131 West Colorado Avenue: Sold Price $2,440,000 MLS # 29436
  • Dahl Haus, 122 South Oak Street: Sold Price $1,250,000 MLS # 26449
  • Senate/Wick Building, 125 South Spruce Street: Sold Price $2,050,000 MLS # 29887
  • Telluride Times Building, 224 East Colorado Avenue: Sold Price $2,200,000 MLS # 28408
  • Fly Me to the Moon Saloon, 132 East Colorado Avenue: Sold Price $600,000 MLS #29379
  • And of course the sale of the Zoline property (The four corners parcel, the intersection of Pacific and Fir); Not in MLS

Year to date 2014 sales are:

  • The Music Store, 201 East Colorado Avenue: Sold Price $2,200,000 MLS #31132
  • Montana Placer, 210 South Oak Street: Sold Price $2,495,000 MLS #28538
  • Shanghai Building, 126 East Colorado Avenue: Sold Price $1,800,000 MLS #30015
  • Lots 9 & 11 corner of Pacific/Spruce: Sold Price $2,275,000 MLS #30872
  • Smuggler Units 225 South Pine: Sold Price $1,650,000 MLS #30052
  • Telluride Times Building, 224 East Colorado Avenue: Sold Price $2,598,000 MLS #30505
  • The half block near the post office. Sold Price $5,800,000 Not in MLS

This leaves only a few whole structure commercial properties listed:

  • The Steaming Bean, 221 West Colorado Avenue: List Price $2,495,000 MLS #29845
  • This property is fully entitled with a penthouse residential unit in the back.
  • The Yarn Shop, 320 West Colorado Avenue: List Price $1,890,000 MLS # 30009
  • Blue Point Restaurant, 123 South Oak: List Price $3,450,000 MLS # 28129
  • The Old Wagner gallery, 120 North Fir: List Price $1,750,000 MLS # 30131
  • The Studio Frank Building, 290 S. Townsend: List Price $4,375,000 MLS # 29582
  • The Old Bank Building, 109 West Colorado: List Price $2,350,000 MLS # 31277
  • That is all for free standing commercial structures listed.

Smaller commercial and office spaces also have seen a lot of activity. With a series of sales in the New San Juan Building, Heritage Building and Elks Building.
Good examples for current listings are:

  • The Arroyo Space (2 units), 220 East Colorado: List Price $798,811 MLS # 30330
  • The Hot Yoga Space, 220 East Colorado: List Price $326,346 MLS # 30183

Again very few properties are available.

I hope this commercial overview helps. Feel free to contact me with any questions about commercial property.

Deep Creek Mesa

Telluride Neighborhood Market Report

Market Report on Deep Creek Mesa Properties
3 miles west of Telluride

First let’s define Deep Creek Mesa properties of course the Aldasoro Ranch subdivision, Sunnyside, Last Dollar Subdivision, Meadows at Deep Creek Mesa, Deep Creek Ranches, Diamond Ranch, Aldasoro Ranch, Golden Ledge and Grey Head.

Deep Creek Mesa has southern exposure, sun and spectacular views of the Wilson Range (San Miguel Mountains) the Ski Area, Town of Telluride, Ilium Valley, the San Sophia Ridge and Grey Head. Truly 360 degree views. Deep Creek Mesa has been a very popular residential area because of the sun, views and wildlife.

Like most real estate markets in the US and the Telluride area in particular, Deep Creek Mesa is waking up from a recession slumber. In general the residential improved properties have had some more activity than the vacant land parcels, this is probably due to the fact that because of the recession many improved residential properties have been offered for sale at or below replacement cost. Some of the most notable of the last two years sales are of course Pagomo in Grey Head for $13,200,000 and 387 Two Creeks Drive in Sunnyside for $6,150,000.

Most likely as soon as some of the lower valued (about a handful) improved properties sell or contract vacant land will start picking up again. The following I see as a good value for this summer’s sales season:

Improved Properties:

  • 335 Old Toll Road ● Ask Price $2,799,000 ● MLS #30516 ● 4 bed ● 4 bath ● 5,686 SQFT ● 4.21 Acres
  • 55 Old Toll Road ● Ask Price $2,395,000 ● MLS #30628 ● 5 bed ● 3.5 bath ● 4,244 SQFT ● 3.37 Acres
  • The above two properties are located in the Meadows at Deep Creek Mesa Subdivision, no transfer tax, Dogs are allowed, both have a fireplace or wood burner, free cable TV, Internet and phone.
  • 217 E Serapio Drive ● Ask Price $2,259,000 ● MLS #25064 ● 5 bed ● 4.5 bath ● 5,018 SQFT ● 3.4 Acres
  • 106 Miguel Road ● Ask Price $3,100,000 ● MLS #30217 ● 5 bed ● 5 bath ● 6,335 SQFT ● 3.08 Acres
  • 209 Aldasoro Road ● Ask Price $2,475,000 ● MLS #30922 ● 5 bed ● 5.5 bath ● 5,498 SQFT ● 2.77 Acres

Vacant Land:

  • Aldasoro Lot 105, TBD Basque Road ● Ask Price $630,000 ● MLS #30462 ● 1.8 Acres
  • Aldasoro Lot 103, 305 Basque Road ● Ask Price $595,000 ● MLS #29903 ● 4.54 Acres
  • Meadows at Deep Creek Mesa Lot 6, TBD Old Toll Road ● Ask Price $599,000 ● MLS #31350 ● 4.3 Acres
  • Aldasoro Lot 45, TBD Aldasoro BLVD ● Ask Price $549,000 ● MLS #27503 ● 2.12 Acres
  • Aldasoro Lot 51, 109 Aguirre Road ● Ask Price $619,900 ● MLS #30981 ● 2.77 Acres

35 Acre Parcels:

Golden Ledge, Parcel #6, TBD Three Sisters Way ● Ask Price $1,695,000 ● MLS #31497 ● 35 Acres
The seller wants this property gone this summer, bring offers.

I hope this gives a good market overview for Deep Creek Mesa. If you want views, sun and elk please take a tour of Deep Creek Mesa.

National Register of Historic Places

In 1966, the U.S. Senate enacted a bill that preserves and protects historic landmarks, places, and districts. A historic district includes buildings, properties, or historically rich land that is protected because of its history or architectural significance.

Telluride is a designated National Historic Landmark District that encompasses 80 acres of downtown Telluride and 7 acres outside of downtown. As one of four communities in Colorado with this designation, Telluride residents are committed to the preservation efforts of its Old West architecture, open space, and small mountain town lifestyle.

Telluride is a wonderful community to be a part of and we take great pride in our town’s architecture and that of the homes built here.

For more information on the history of Telluride and its National Historic Landmark District, please view the PDF version of the town’s registration form.

1908 Telluride Map

Historic Telluride, CO

The Sanborn Insurance Company made maps of many towns and cities in the U.S. and these are valuable resources for historians and historic preservation analysis. This map is a compilation of a loose-leaf set of maps for Telluride and is dated 1908. This is the last Sanborn map before the expiration of the Period of Significance in 1913. If your home or building is shown on this map, it is historic.

Telluride Real Estate Update

Getting Its Edge Back

Like a new pair of Solomon Shogun skis, the Telluride real estate market is getting its edge back. The last few years have been slow, and like many real estate markets, Telluride’s spectacular real estate value rise since the 1980’s slowed to a crawl. Inventory increased and transactions were not keeping up with the supply. That is now changing. Transactions both in volume and dollar amounts have increased significantly in 2012. The town of Telluride is leading the charge with single family home sales. Condominium sales in the Mountain Village are picking up. The supply of competitively priced properties is shrinking. It is a Buyer’s market, but many property owners and sellers in the Telluride market have a limited amount of lender exposure on their properties, and this has given good price stability. There is still good value to be purchased, but as the properties are absorbed, new listings will most likely come with a higher asking price.

The commercial market is coming back. Lease rates are stable and vacancy rates are near zero for retail and 2%-3% for office. One unique historic property we are currently offering for sale is the “Mahr Building” in downtown Telluride, located at the site of the first bank robbed by Butch Cassidy. Asking price $2,749,000. View this listing at our website. During the down turn, Telluride was blessed with good snow conditions and our visitor count was minimally affected. The summer season of course is packed with fun events, Bluegrass, Jazz, and Blue & Brews music festivals, and Mountain Film and Film Festival for celluloid lovers. The future is bright for Telluride and Telluride’s real estate market. Come and enjoy our mountains. Call us if you would like to look at real estate.