Real Estate & Construction  February 11, 2011

Lind puts 1,500 acres on auction

(c) 2011, Northern Colorado Business Report

WINDSOR – Martin Lind knows he’s led a charmed life, but now he’s ready to spread the joy and success of developing the land where he grew up to others.

Lind, known primarily as the developer of the Water Valley mixed-use project in Windsor, is preparing to auction several of his prime residential and commercial properties on March 17.

Lind said he is putting about 40 parcels on the auction block with an estimated value of “at least $50 million to $60 million.” Many of the parcels are in or near Water Valley, but others include land in Eagle Crossing near The Ranch and at the former site of Iron Mountain Autoplex on U.S. Highway 34 west of Greeley.

Editor’s note: The estimated value of the properties was revised to $95 million after this story went to press.

Lind said the three Eagle Crossing parcels are prime development properties. “That’s my best commercial stuff and maybe the best in the state,” he said.

Other properties include three parcels in Water Valley West that comprise a total of 800 acres, zoned for 1,200 residential units and a half million square feet of commercial space already annexed and master-planned into the town of Windsor.

Lind said he wants another developer to come into the picture and take over the project. “It’s hard to find something better than that,” he said. “It’s waiting for the next artist on the land.”

Lind, who grew up farming the area and became a successful developer by turning gravel pits and agricultural acreage into thriving residential and commercial projects, said he wants to open the area up to new ideas and new players. “These (properties) are going to come back to life, but it needs that new energy,” he said.

The properties set for auction total about 1,500 acres, Lind said. Some include both water and mineral rights.

 

Not distressed property

Lind said the properties to be sold are not distressed or facing foreclosure.

“We’re having an auction but it’s not a bad deal, not a distress deal,” he said. “It’s primarily all mine – there’s no banks, no loans. I’m putting these lands on here because they’re going to draw a crowd and increase the vibrancy of the auction.”

Lind said he will offer 50 percent financing on everything sold with 4.5 percent interest for three years.

Lind said the recent downturn in the economy and slowdown in the residential and commercial sector played a small part in his auction decision.

“I won’t beat around the bush – it’s been no fun to have the pressure of maintaining these properties with nothing sold,” he said.

But with signs of a recovery ahead, he said shedding some of his properties is mostly to allow him to manage a smaller portfolio.

“My life has been incredibly blessed,” he said. “I want to refocus my energy on the priorities that are nearest to my heart and let a whole new breed of developer come into Northern Colorado.”

Those preferred properties, he said, include Water Valley and land adjacent to the Fort Collins-Loveland Airport.

The auction will be held at the Embassy Suites hotel just south of The Ranch and north of Eagle Crossing, and managed by J.P. King Auction Co. Inc., Gadsden, Ala.

Lind had been listing many of the properties to be auctioned with fellow developers Jon Turner and Craig Harrison in a combined 5,000-acre online offering totaling $173 million. However, after about a year on the market, there were few offers.

Turner, whose company, Hillside Commercial, is marketing properties in Highland Meadows in Windsor and Timnath Ranch in Timnath, said he thinks the auction may be a good idea.

“It might be a good idea, and if he does well we might do it,” he said. “We wish him well. His success is a comp for us, so we want him to do well.”

Great decision

Harrison, whose company, Harrison Resource Corp., is handling the online marketing for the combined offering, said he thinks taking some of Lind’s properties to auction is a good idea.

“I thought it was a great decision,” Harrison said. “His properties are bull’s-eye right on Main Street (I-25), and some people are going to get some real bargains. Based on the success (of another developer’s auction in December) in Wellington, I think this is going to do very well.”

Harrison said he thinks investors are ready to come off the sidelines in 2011 as the economy starts to improve and new federal tax laws are finalized.

“I think the timing will be very good going into the auction,” he said. “I think that day will determine the (state of the Northern Colorado real estate) market. You can’t argue with the results of an auction.”

Lind said there will be minimum bids for some properties but not all. He said he doesn’t mind seeing some go for less than what they had been listed for.

“People are going to be looking for bargains, and I don’t blame them,” he said. “Selling a little bit too cheap is just fine with me. I can’t think of anything better than having a whole new group of people come in with new energy and enthusiasm.”

Lind said it was time for others to share in the good fortune he’s had in developing an attractive area.

“This is a lifetime collection of properties all within a stone’s throw of where I grew up,” he said. “Nobody like me should have this much. It’s not healthy for the region. This area needs some new energy.”

Turner said bringing new investment into the region can only be a good thing. “It makes banking stronger, it makes the market stronger, it makes everything stronger,” he said. “He’ll be marketing to 200 or 300 wealthy people from around the country and shining a spotlight on Northern Colorado. How can that be bad?”

Lind said the auction will also include several personal items that will be sold to benefit local charities, including a custom-made Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

For more information on the auction, visit www.jpking.com.

(c) 2011, Northern Colorado Business Report

WINDSOR – Martin Lind knows he’s led a charmed life, but now he’s ready to spread the joy and success of developing the land where he grew up to others.

Lind, known primarily as the developer of the Water Valley mixed-use project in Windsor, is preparing to auction several of his prime residential and commercial properties on March 17.

Lind said he is putting about 40 parcels on the auction block with an estimated value of “at least $50 million to $60 million.” Many of the parcels are in or near Water Valley, but…

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