July 23, 2004

REAL ESTATE: Lind changes course on plans for Raindance Ridge

WINDSOR — Two years after Martin Lind rolled out his innovative plans for Raindance Ridge, he?s decided to change directions.
Lind wants to turn his 1,200-acre holding, located on a hilltop between Windsor and U.S. Highway 34, into a resort-style development more like his expansive Water Valley project to the north.
In fact, Lind?s toying with the idea of renaming Raindance as Water Valley West.
Lind?s initial plans for Raindance Ridge called for 10,000-acre-feet of water storage in two reservoirs, surrounded by about 400 housing lots. Some of the water would be pumped uphill to create the new lakes.
Income from storing water ? the city of Greeley was one of the prospective clients in the Raindance plans ? would have supported the residential development.
Now Lind is considering a single lake, covering about 300 surface acres and providing 3,000 acre-feet of storage. The lake would be nearly the size of Lake Loveland and stretch about one mile in length.
?I know for a fact that water storage is needed,? Lind said. ?But to rely on the water storage part of it, and municipalities driving the deal, that kind of creates paralysis on the land-planning side of it.?
Rather than build the water storage first and develop a land-use plan around it, Lind?s goal is to ?make a land plan and reservoir all come together at the same time. We?re working on a conceptual plan now.?
In its new form, Lind?s considering approximately 1,000 homes that would be clustered. Non-residential land would be converted to recreational use, such as a golf course, equestrian center and trails.
?I see what?s happening with Water Valley South ? that?s making us think maybe we should spin off of that and continue that success story,? Lind said.
Lind?s concept includes a number of homes that would reflect a ?resort style,? such as patio homes or condominium time-shares.
?You could live in a patio home that had a trail you could take down to the equestrian center where your horse is,? he said. ?The crux of the deal is to create a type of lifestyle people like ? maintenance-free living ? so you could play with your toys. It could be a boat, it could be a golf cart, it could be a horse.?
The project is still on the drawing board, but Lind thinks he could be ready to introduce plans to Windsor town officials in about six months.
Lind said he?s called on multiple land-use architects to work on the site. ?We?re letting people have some creative competition with it.?
If the project develops as an extension of Water Valley South, it ?would be a natural progression,? Lind said.
When complete, Water Valley and Water Valley South will provide about 2,500 homes as well as two golf courses ?the 18-hole Pelican Lakes course and nine-hole Pelican Falls course, which is still under development.
Lind launched the Water Valley project on the south side of Windsor to take advantage of aggregate mining operations near the Poudre River. The mining created new lakes, which became water features for the development.
Water Valley South recently signed a landmark deal with the Good Samaritan Society, a major operator of senior citizen communities. Good Samaritan paid $3.7 million for land in Water Valley South and plans to start construction in the fall of 2005 on 360 units of senior housing.
In announcing the deal, Good Samaritan said it was attracted by proximity to Water Valley?s recreational amenities. Clearly, Lind?s banking that more amenities at the Raindance Ridge site will keep the customers coming.

Commercial market tests patience

In its latest quarterly report on the Colorado economy, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said earlier this month not to expect an employment turnaround until 2005 at the earliest.
Michael Ehler, a broker with Realtec Commercial Real Estate Services, concurred with the FDIC assessment.
?You read about a national recovery, but you?re hard pressed to see it here locally,? Ehler said. ?Not only in real estate, but in general business. I couldn?t identify somebody to you now that says business is just great. It?s kind of a stop-and-go type thing.?
The job market is reflected in the commercial real estate sector.
?There?s a lot of interest out there ? but trying to get somebody actually to commit to something, that?s a real challenge,? he said.

Editor Robert Baun covers real estate for The Northern Colorado Business Report. He can be reached at (970) 221-5400, (970) 356-1683 or via e-mail at bbaun@ncbr.com. His fax number is (970) 221-5432.

WINDSOR — Two years after Martin Lind rolled out his innovative plans for Raindance Ridge, he?s decided to change directions.
Lind wants to turn his 1,200-acre holding, located on a hilltop between Windsor and U.S. Highway 34, into a resort-style development more like his expansive Water Valley project to the north.
In fact, Lind?s toying with the idea of renaming Raindance as Water Valley West.
Lind?s initial plans for Raindance Ridge called for 10,000-acre-feet of water storage in two reservoirs, surrounded by about 400 housing lots. Some of the water would be pumped uphill to create the new lakes.
Income…

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