Breck Cannabis AP

The line at Breckenridge Cannabis Club goes out the door as vacationers and residents alike take advantage of Colorado’s new recreational marijuana laws. (Kathryn Olson/AP)

We’ve seen photos and stories from Colorado ski towns such as Aspen and Breckenridge showing vacationers filing lines out the door at marijuana shops, so of course, we had to wonder what kind of impact legal pot could have on Colorado real estate. Are more buyers putting it in their pipes and smoking it?

Turns out the Colorado Association of Realtors was wondering the exact same thing.  After all, with 136 pot retailers in the state as of Dec. 2013, buyers were throwing green after green, eventually causing a state-wide shortage of smokables. But is recreational marijuana a boon for Colorado real estate, or a burden?

“Some people don’t want to come [to Colorado] with their families,” says Joyce Burford, executive director of Colorado Association of Ski Towns. “Because they have this image that all these pot smokers will be everywhere.” That’s not happening, she says, and “I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Analysis from the Colorado Association of Realtors shows that while state law no longer forbids recreational pot sales and retailers, local governments hold the keys to the lease.

The majority of counties in Colorado have either already passed bans on recreational marijuana retailers or have delayed making a decision and placed a moratorium on pot business; closely monitoring how enactment is working in other parts of the state.

It looks as though recreational marijuana businesses will be absent from large portions of the state for the foreseeable future. According to the Denver Post, of the ten largest cities in Colorado (by population), only Denver is expected to accept license applications for recreational marijuana stores this year.

It’s also important to note that in counties and cities that have decided to allow recreational sales, grow operations will only be in areas zoned industrial.

Right now, Denver and Denver County are the only areas where you can still apply for a marijuana sales license. So vacation property owners don’t really have to worry about an influx of new ganja businesses. And in Vail, there’s a complete moratorium on recreational marijuana sales. Still, folks in Aspen are buying pot, but at least one Realtor doesn’t think it will do much for real estate sales, if anything at all.

“I don’t think [legal marijuana] is making that much difference,” Joshua Landis, a real-estate agent in Aspen, said in this piece in The Daily Beast.

“People have always been able to access marijuana in Aspen. Nobody is out smoking marijuana on the corner” just because it’s suddenly legal to possess and use it in private (it’s still illegal to use publicly). In addition, he says, “I don’t think it has any effect” on property values. “No one who can afford to buy property in Aspen is going to make their decision based on marijuana policy.”

If the lines snaking outside of the Breckenridge Cannabis Club are any indication, pot tourism might make Colorado the new Amsterdam. And heck, it might be a draw so much in that it awakens latent demand for buyers who want to move to a 4:20-friendly state, but perhaps in more affordable areas such as Denver and its surrounding suburbs.

Others, like Lubbock’s Colt and Amanda Smith, are among those planning to move to the state to ride the new economy. The couple founded the Lubbock chapter of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws).

They had talked about retiring in Colorado but decided to act early once the new law took effect.

“We have our house on the market right now,” Colt Smith said. “It makes sense to find exile in a place that has more reasonable laws than to sit around and wait for Texas to get there.”

The Smiths hope to launch a marijuana edibles business once they establish residency.

“We feel like Colorado is just beautiful and has beautiful laws,” Smith said. “When people tell me they’re going there to ski now, they use air quotes.”

“Skiing,” indeed.


Boot Ranch 24

Congratulations to Boot Ranch, one of the most beautiful vacation home communities in the nation, for having one of the nation’s best golf ranges as ranked by the Golf Range Association of America. So exciting!

Truly, Boot Ranch is becoming a top golf destination in Texas and the U.S., with immaculate PGA-level courses as well as an executive Par 3 course. Read on for more details!

The Golf Range Association of America has again honored Boot Ranch as one of the nation’s top 50 private ranges and the only award winner in Texas. Boot Ranch, Estancia Club, Hazeltine National, The Bridges of Rancho Santa Fe and Valhalla Golf Club are quickly becoming regulars within the Top 50. The award was announced in the January issue of Golf Range Magazine.

In addition to the 34-acre practice park, which includes a short game range and an executive Par 3 course, there’s the championship 18-hole golf course designed by PGA legend Hal Sutton. The 18-hole golf course rises and falls along the natural ridges and valleys and makes full use of natural water features, one being the twin 40-foot waterfalls in front of the 10th green. The course measures 7,250 yards from the longest tee for a Par 71.

“As the primary location for young players’ entry into golf and for players wanting to improve their overall game, a greater value is being put on practice facilities across the nation. Boot Ranch is at the forefront in meeting this demand,” says Boot Ranch PGA Director of Golf Emil Hale. “A lot of qualities go in making a golf course great,” he added. “In the case of Boot Ranch, players generally praise the uniqueness of holes, conditioning, challenge, length and history.”

A limited number of Non-Resident Memberships are available for those who want to enjoy golf; access to the property’s Club House Village, spa and fitness facilities; and the new Ranch Club featuring four separate pools, outdoor pavilion for events and parties and soon-to-be-completed sports and tennis courts. A complete list of award winners can be found in Golf Range Magazine.

Father’s Day was last weekend, but this spread would have made a great gift of second home real estate for Anthony Weiner: Beaver Dam Farms. The 973-acre private estate is tucked away in the rolling foothills of Athens, Georgia. It was built from the root up and designed by country music legend Kenny Rogers – betcha didn’t know he was a designer as well as a  crooner and, in fact, had an interior design firm partnership in Atlanta. He sold the spread to wealthy rancher Wes Adams  in 2003, who died in February. And now,  Beaver Dam has just been listed privately for
$20 million.

The  estate comes fully furnished and is located on the original site of one of Georgia’s grandest plantations. It features so much I might as well create a list:  12,000-square-foot main house complete with two gyms, a movie theater, a billiards room, and an Italian marble wraparound porch.  Bring on the visitors, just as Kenny did and they can have their choice of  a 4,000 square foot six bedroom guest house, a four bedroom, 2600 square foot guest cottage, and four one-bedroom villas 1,000 square foot little villas larger than most New York City apartments.

If you think this list is exhaustive – the best is yet to come.  Beaver Dam Farms has a  private, 6,285-yard, 18-hole executive championship golf course that Rogers personally designed and is on par with world-renowned Augusta National. Here are some of the top names who have played there: Payne Stewart, Lanny Wadkins and Ray Floyd,  plus Rogers and his celeb friends.

Oh but we do not stop with the golf. The estate sports  a 6000 square foot golf clubhouse, a 9,000-square-foot state-of-the-art  equestrian and multi-use center , two barns, two swimming pools, clay tennis courts, a spa, conference center, various outdoor entertaining venues and three fish-stocked lakes. There is even a 1022 square foot guest lake house in proximity of those three lakes. I mean, you might get tired after a day of fishing and not be able to walk up those singing hills. If you think this sounds a bit commercial, well, the last owner did run it as a retreat, which is another huge possibility for this property.  Adams turned Beaver Dam it into an inclusive
resort with spa services and event rentals, running it kind of like a dude ranch: Adams also owns  The Motherwell, a dude ranch
in Colorado.








Yes, Utah, the Mormon state, home of multiple wives and big families — kidding. (Sort of.) According to recent information released by the U.S. Census Bureau, as reported by U-Haul, Utah properties have the most rooms per home, on average, followed by Texas. The Census Bureau surveyed 915 metropolitan and micropolitan areas and found out that  Utah properties have the most rooms per home, on average — 7 rooms per home. (Note: I am still seeking the original source of this information.) While Texas had numerous cities on the bureau’s list, Utah areas accounted for the top five spots. In the Lone Star state, there is Brownwood, with an average of 5.7 rooms per home, the most in the state. The Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metropolitan area followed Brownwood at an average of 5.4. I really want to know where Dallas/Fort Worth, with Vaquero mixed in, stands.

Brigham City, Utah has an average of seven rooms per home.  Living, dining, kitchen, family and three bedrooms. Bathrooms are not usually counted as rooms.

The national median is 5.5 rooms per home (living/dining/kitchen/two bedrooms), and only a mere 9.8 percent of properties across the country have nine rooms, or more.

Champ D’Or, pictured here, has 36,360 square feet with six bedrooms, seven baths, a bowling alley, underground parking, ballroom, theater, wine room, two guests suites, veranda seating for 500, indoor/outdoor pools, and sits on 90 acres thirty minutes north of Dallas. It is now being marketed by Joan Eleazer of Briggs Freeman. You could start a boutique agency with all the agents who have tried to sell this place (and lost moola on the marketing materials). Joan Eleazer first time, Doris Jacobs, Ebby Halliday, Elaine Whitfield and Matthew Edwards,  and full circle now with Joan Eleazer again at Briggs Freeman.

Chanel boutique closet or no, I love it, but that place is not budging.

Tis true. A new study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), when comparing  29 industrialized nations, found that people in our neighbor to the south, Mexico, work the most hours both paid and unpaid. Belgium came in with the least hours of work and earliest retirement, and France wasn’t far behind. The USA was closer to Mexico…

The study was based on surveys in 26 OECD member countries plus China, India and South Africa.  Mexicans, it found, work an average of 10 hours a day at paid and unpaid labor including housekeeping, while Belgians work an average of 7 hours, actually one hour less than the OECD average. Belgians also take several weeks off a year, and retire by age 60. Mexicans work long hours for little to no pay and cannot  take much time off.  They do not retire at age 60 but keep on working into old age.

This is interesting to our real estate market for several reasons. One, a significant number of Mexicans participate in our home building industry. I have heard countless builders tell me how much they value their Mexican sub contractors. One even told me recently that the crime in Mexico has kept his subs home in Texas during the winter months — now if building would pick up, he’s got his subs 12 months a year.

Also, Mexicans continue to be a huge factor in the Texas real estate market and have help propped up our home sales.

Just getting to know the Kozelskys as they are selling their architectural jewel of Dallas real estate for sale down the street from me. Now comes word from Lynette Scruggs they have reduced this the most talked about home in Dallas to $9,750,000 from $11.5. Amy said she was testing the waters, you go girl! Stick your whole foot in! $9.750 mil will still be a record for this ‘hood. The K’s are having a little recognition party (Trailbalzers Event) for the major underwriters for Cattle Barons chez Northaven Thursday eve.

The last unreal sale that ripped this ‘hood when William “Kip” Tindell bought Caroline Minnis’s $ 5.2 millionish sleek contemporary home on Northaven at West Ricks Circle. It’s a honey. Also must tell you that since all the postings on 6645 Northaven, I have been getting more email from the kiddos who grew up with my kiddos and the family who used to live at this address, Peach and Beck Weathers, he of Mount Everest fame.  6645 was also owned by a family named Taylor before the Kozelsky’s purchased the property.

Remember when the Wall Street Journal told us crime was so bad in Mexico that even the Mayor of Monterrey, Fernando Larrazabal had fled and re-located his family to the Dallas area? (I found out it was to Las Colinas, and y’all got mad at me. I also found out on a visit to La Paz, Mexico, in November that Sr. Larrazabal wanted to be closer to her family here in North Texas.)  Crime there is way out of control; the city is caught in a war between two drug cartels, the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas. A U.S. Federal ICE agent was recently murdered, and the violence could be spreading to the U.S.

I talked with my landscaper, who used to drive through Monterrey on the way home to see his parents in Mexico:  he told me he no longer drives through Mexico.

“It’s terrible,” he says. “My wife, she is afraid. They are killing people in Monterrey every day. EVERY day!”

It’s the drug cartels, he told me, and he blames the Mexican government for not wanting to accept any assistance from the U.S. There have been 350 killings in Monterrey this year, which is the third most populous city in Mexico with 3.7 million people. August 18 the body of the mayor of nearby Santiago,  Edelmiro Cavazos, was found on the outskirts of Monterrey, an industrial center with close U.S. business ties. Two doctoral students have been killed, guests at a Holiday Inn kidnapped, and the cartels killed two bodyguards right in front of a school. Many Americans and even some wealthier Mexican are out of there and ending up in Texas — so in a perverse way, this could be good for our property values.

I still recall the story of a rancher who was kidnapped and held hostage for over a year in a box, beaten, shot, barely fed, all to extort ransom money from his American-born wife. Guess where this happened: San Miguel D’Allende. On the show, the couple, who were both in real estate, said initially they were asked to keep quiet about the kidnapping for fear of the damage it would do the to real estate community.

Nobody ever sells on Stonebridge Drive in Dallas (well, two were sold in the neighborhood whole of last year).  The street has anti-tank berms at the north end that virtually eliminate rush hour rat-runners and drunken revelers lost after midnight. It makes for a quiet existence, dismembered from the hurly-burly of living in the heart of America’s fourth largest SAMA. So, it is triumphally significant that 4104 Stonebridge Dr. is “coming soon” from David Griffin Realtors and parrot-owning agent Jarrad Barnes. The yard sign has been in the tease state for a month, so this may all be a spoof.

But wait! Barnes tells me the house isn’t really for sale, but it’s not a tease. The house is built on two lots, and one of them is for sale. That makes it a 60 foot wide slither of land totaling just over 7,500 sq. ft. (the minimum lot size in the neighborhood). The interesting thing is, a river runs through it. Or, as math majors and Barnes’ parrot would say, bisects the property  Far from making building a house impossible, it encourages the kind of innovative cantilevered design found on Park Bridge Court just a few minutes south down Turtle Creek Boulevard. As Barnes puts it “This lot will be bought by someone who reads Dwell”.

From the dog-walker’s perspective, I see potential with this lot. It backs onto the Katy Trail. The owner can dynamite cut, his own personal access to the best urban trail in Dallas. Second, this location is only one and a half miles from downtown Dallas. If the city continues to grow, it has to command an increased congestion premium. All of this doesn’t describe the location (which we just did, above). For all that, the $695k asking price sounds like fair value.