New owner quiet as options evaluated
by Mark Reaman
A major piece of land in Mt. Crested Butte changed hands last week. The North Village parcel of approximately 158 acres located at the base of Snodgrass Mountain was sold by the Mueller family, the former owners of the Crested Butte Mountain Resort ski area, and closed on June 7. According to the Gunnison County MLS (Multiple Listing Service), the property went for $5.3 million. The original asking price last year was $8.9 million and the property was on the market 238 days.
The parcel is currently zoned as a Planned Unit Development (PUD) in Mt. Crested Butte and at one time was envisioned as a second village that would include 1,800 residential units along with commercial and retail to support ski lifts that would access Snodgrass. But the U.S. Forest Service eventually rejected the idea of making Snodgrass into a second lift-served ski area.
Michael Kraatz, vice president for real estate with Triple Peaks, LLC, said the Muellers had owned the property since 2004. It was originally part of the ski resort when they purchased it at that time.
“There are 17 acres that were deeded to the town prior to 2004 but are still part of the PUD that was permitted in 1985,” Kraatz explained. “I’m not at liberty to disclose the details of the buyer and terms of the sale but the sale is final and the Muellers have no further interest in the land.”
The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) had been working with the Muellers to negotiate the purchase of a piece of property for the lab at the base of Snodgrass. The intention was to make the property a “gateway” to the Gothic Valley. The initial idea involved a 5.34-acre plot of land that incorporated science and education space along with office space. Other potential uses for a RMBL parcel that have been mentioned include parking, a welcome center and affordable housing for seasonal workers.
“Based upon initial conversations with the purchaser of the North Village property, we have found that we share many of the same values and goals,” said RMBL executive director Ian Billick. “As with the previous owners, we have been exploring with the purchaser possibilities for improving public access, creating some year-round facilities and providing community housing. We are very excited about the general direction, though it is still very early in the planning process.”
Mt. Crested Butte community development director Carlos Velado said while the current PUD allows for a vast development, that is expected to change, given current realities of Snodgrass that was not approved for a ski area expansion by the U.S. Forest Service. He said if the new owner proposes any significant changes, a new PUD application would be required from the town.
Kraatz said the Muellers are actively trying to sell another large parcel of land they own in the Prospect subdivision on the backside of the ski mountain. “There is interest in the 178-acre Prospect parcel, but no takers at this point,” he concluded.
Mt. Crested Butte town manager Joe Fitzpatrick said the town had recently completed a deal with the Mueller family to tie up some loose ends associated with the North Village and Prospect properties. A $2.95 million transaction took place between the Muellers and the town to deal with things like Gothic Road upgrades and the Recreation Path extension from Marcellina Lane to Prospect Drive as part of the previous annexation agreement.