“We’ve had preliminary discussions”
[ By Katherine Nettles ]
Gunnison County planners are aware of a potential idea to develop a luxury resort near the former mining town of Crystal on the other side of Schofield Park in Gunnison County. A collection of old mining claims in and around Crystal owned by fourth generation resident Chris Cox could in the next several years become a new summer and winter retreat.
Cox, who owns several hundred acres of property alongside the Crystal River east of Marble under the name Treasure Mountain Ranch, has been in contact with the Gunnison County Community and Economic Development department about an upcoming land use change application.
Cox spoke to the town of Marble board of trustees last week about his proposal, which would include placing a conservation easement on the majority of his property, and ensuring the old Crystal Mill site and ghost town of Crystal City are placed in historical preservation under the care of a non-profit foundation that could manage and restore them.
“We have had preliminary discussions but no application has been submitted yet,” confirmed Gunnison County Community and Economic Development director Cathie Pagano. She said she has met with Cox and his development partner Stuart Gillespie in the past few months.
The majority of the property Cox owns is situated along Forest Service Road 314 in the Crystal town site vicinity and includes rental cabins and a general store. According to the Gunnison County public records, the largest parcel is 396.72 acres appraised at a value of $1,398,650. Cox and Gillespie propose to develop 20 cabins, employee housing and a farm to table restaurant on 15 acres of the property. Hiking, fishing, horseback riding in the summer and both snowcat-based and unguided ski operations in the winter would be the main draw.
According to Cox’s presentation to Marble officials last week, the resort would prioritize using sustainable and building materials and renewable energy, and the high-end clientele would rely on shuttle services rather than exacerbating parking and crowding issues in Marble along County Road 3 near the popular mill site.
Cox has stated that he purchased the property from fellow family members who advocated selling the property to the highest bidder but he wanted to preserve the town and mill site.