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.

 

equest_graze_600x900@72dpiRanches, cowboys, horses and cattle are Texas icons—just look at some of our professional sports teams. The Cowboys, Rangers, and Mavericks all harken back to the state’s historic roots. And remember famous “Southfork,” the site of many a double deal in the TV drama Dallas? It’s increasingly surrounded by development (and it’s a whole lot smaller than it seemed on TV).

There are still BIG ranches out there, such as the King Ranch, 6666 (the Four Sixes) and the YO Ranch (currently for sale for $81 million), but ranching and cattle are generally not the core business any more. More and more, ranches are purchased and owned for 3 reasons: (1) recreation, (2) energy development and (3) investment (which often means wait until it can be carved up and developed for higher prices).

While there is a powerful connection with the land, Texas has also historically led the nation in the amount of raw land converted to development property. This rampant expansion is continually changing our landscape. And let’s face it; much of what is developed and constructed does not have the most lasting value. Kind of seems like the same type of development gets repeated about every 5-10 miles no matter which direction you’re headed.

What does this all mean? Some areas have taken action to protect their heritage. In Austin, thousands of acres have been placed in conservation easements to protect open space, view sheds, wildlife, and water resources. The trend is also taking hold with some of our western neighbors. Recently, the Walls Street Journal reported that Scottsdale just purchased an additional 2,365 acres to add to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, bringing it to 30,000 acres and making it the largest municipality-owned urban park in the U.S. While, in North Texas, the “drill, baby, drill” slogan has been adapted to “build, baby, build.”

However, at Cross Pines Ranch in East Texas (near Mineola and about 30 minutes from Tyler), over 1,800 acres have been permanently protected from future development by a conservation easement. This is beautiful and pristine property that had been planned for a 400-lot, high-end second home sporting community, complete with, among other things, a Tom Fazio golf course, riding stables, and skeet and sporting clays courses. While that would have made a stunning and high-quality development, the owners ultimately determined that they wanted to preserve the land in as close to its natural state as possible, while allowing a very limited amount of development.

2011 record bass

The result is a conservation-oriented sporting ranch, owned by no more than 40 families. Each owner has a 5-acre building site upon which to build a home and ownership in the remaining 1,800 acres of the ranch, which includes a clubhouse, equestrian barn, skeet and trap range, miles of hiking and biking trails and over 200 acres of lakes, professionally managed for largemouth bass and complete with boats at the ready. The fishing is spectacular. In fact, the world famous fly fisherman Lefty Kreh visited Cross Pines this fall and was so impressed that he’s discussed returning to use Cross Pines for his next video.

There is also a full-time ranch manager that takes care of the ranch (and its owners!) as well as a full-time equestrian manager, who will have horses saddled and ready for owners and who is always ready to lead a trail ride. The concept is really “plug and play,” where owners can show up and just enjoy their favorite activities, without all the hassle involved if they had to take care of it all. Since the ranch is about the size of Highland Park with virtually no fences, there’s plenty of room to spread out and play.

On the conservation side, in addition to the conservation easement that reduced the number of sites from 400 to 40, the owners implemented restrictions on building size, materials, tree removal and landscaping to preserve view corridors and encourage resource conservation. They are currently working on the re-introduction of native grasses as well as a significant ongoing reforestation program. These efforts earned Cross Pines Ranch a spot as one of the 4 finalists in this year’s Green Project of the Year-Non LEED category at the Green Gala & Awards put on by the North Texas United States Green Building Council. While the victor was the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (where the event was held), Cross Pines was certainly in good company.

Cross Pines June 2006 502

Is Cross Pines a model for future development? Due to its unique nature, it’s probably only suited for certain exceptional recreational properties. However, the real emphasis should be on integrating a focus on conservation, preservation and the environment into all of our developments. As discussed above, Dallas is not known for its environmental ethos. Maybe we should start changing that. Why? If you read my Aspen report, I coined a term “selfish sustainability.”

Think about it. We’re a magnet for jobs for many reasons, but we must continue to make choices to position ourselves and our area strategically for the long term. Resource use, resource conservation, land conservation, etc., is important to many people, particularly the “creative classes” that increasingly drive our economies. It’s all about making the right next choice. As I said before, if it makes economic sense today, helps protect and enhance businesses (or an area) long-term and helps protect the environment, that sure seems like a win-win-win. Cross Pines is a model for that kind of thinking.

Full Disclosure: I have been involved in the conceptualization and creation of Cross Pines Ranch from its beginning. We’ve always said that it’s all about the land, and we’re continually delighted when families see and enjoy this incredible landscape that has been protected in perpetuity.

Lake 4 boathouse_600x900@72dpi

 

Dallas Addison is a Dallas-based lawyer who has helped many clients throughout the country buy, sell, develop and manage all types of  real estate over the years, with a  particular focus on recreational and hospitality-based real estate,  such as golf courses, resorts, ranches, second homes, etc. He is also a founding principal of Preservation Land Company. He is a regulator contributor to SecondShelters.com.

I have been on pins and needles waiting out this auction, bugging Robbie Briggs and Laura Brady at Concierge Actions all day yesterday. At about eight p.m. Friday night Robbie Briggs emailed me that “It was a fascinating process, and it appears to be successful.” Saturday morning I heard from Laura Brady who said — “we haven’t released details to anyone… the high bidder has formally requested confidentiality about their name and the high bid amount.” Which means the house did sell, we just don’t know for how much and who it sold to.

Great news! Briggs pulled off a near dang miracle!

Refresher: the 48,000-square-foot Hickory Creek mansion, known as Champ d’Or, which translates to “Fields of Gold,” was put up for auction by Concierge Auctions out of New York Friday, March 30 with a minimum reserve bid of $10.3 million. Champ d’Or cost about $46 million, took five years to build, and has been sitting on the market for umpteen years. Last market listing was $35 million and at least five local brokers have attempted to shed the house spending at least a half million to do so. The Denton County mansion was last appraised for tax purposes at $9.72 million, according to the Denton County Appraisal District. Champ d’Or was modeled after Vaux-le-Vicomte chateau in Paris.

Reading between the lines, I’m wondering if there was a confidentiality clause signed.

I have so many questions: how many bidders were there? Did they meet the reserve? A reader on CandysDirt pointed out they must have because, in order to bid, you agreed to start at the minimum amount. (Unless, as someone else said, they dropped the reserve at the last minute…) Did they go into private negotiations? Were the bidders actually there? In most auctions, experts tell me they show up 75% of the time, unlike luxury auto auctions. They like to see the process and what they are buying. Sometimes buyers do send their brokers or POA reps.

I asked a veteran local real estate auction expert (who asked to remain confidential) to speculate on a couple of scenarios and tell me what HE THOUGHT went down. Speculation here, folks. What if, I asked, they didn’t meet the reserve yesterday? Let’s say they stalled out at 7 million, he said, you know everyone is staring at each other, they just thank everyone for participating and end the auction. They may take the top bidders aside, say hey we didn’t make the reserve, what are you interested in putting into this property? In other words, private negotiations begin.

“Pending contract” could mean they are still trying to work out a contract, they didn’t make the reserve and are still negotiating. “Sale pending” may have indicated they made the reserve.

Now let’s say it sold at auction, met the reserve, bingo. Typically, there are no contingencies. If they negotiated privately, the buyer may have said I want to bring in my own inspectors, etc., which any realtor knows just opens up the door for guess what: more negotiations.

The sprawling estate was drawing widespread interest from buyers across the U.S. and internationally, Laura Brady, vice president of marketing for Concierge Auctions, told the Dallas Morning News’s James Ragland. I know that, because even people from Japan who had seen it on my blog were emailing me about it. A refundable $250,000 cashier’s check was required to register, the number of bidders was confidential. James asked Laura some great questions:

Potential buyers were expressing interest in pursuing “the property for residential purposes, which is how it’s used now,” as well as possibly using it for a business headquarters, she said. Brady said developers also had designs on the property, which is about 40 miles north of Dallas.

 

As This may be of interest to my Dallas readers. Much more, including a forthcoming statement from Dave Perry-Miller, on CandysDirt, where you will find all the local real estate news in North Texas on the ONLY real estate blog in town! I told you Saturday/Sunday, Ellen Terry has made the move from Ebby Halliday – her high end boutique firm was purchased by Ebby in 1995 — to Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International. This comes just a month after Ebby folded her firm into the Dave Perry-Miller brand — told you about that one first, too! Well, today was Ellen’s first day at Briggs Freeman, she said, since I broke the news of her departure over the weekend!

I got an exclusive interview with Ellen and Robbie Briggs just moments ago. First of all, she will office out of the Lovers Lane office, with Robbie. Not sure of all who will be coming along with her, Todd, her son, will come for sure. Hopefully, Caroline Summers. Ellen said she had several brokers pursuing her after the E/DPM merger, but she has admired Robbie for years and watched the incredible marketing being churned out of his office with the Sotheby’s merger. And she likes how Briggs is expanding like wildfire, too — new offices in Uptown, Southlake and soon, Fort Worth. Her new title at Briggs: Executive Vice President of Mentoring and Coaching.

“One of my passions in life has always been to mentor others to help them reach their potential,” says Ellen.

But never fear, Ellen will be selling. Her first sale was in 1976, a $400,000 home — believe it? — on Lakeside Drive to Jan Cox.

“I sold her a great investment,” says Ellen. The last time that home sold, Robbie Briggs says they handled it. It was $2.5 million.

Thirty days after she joined Coldwell Banker, her first broker, in 1976, the single mother had closed over a million in real estate sales, enabling her to pay off an IRS bill in full. In 2002 she sold, at that time, the most expensive home in Dallas, 4707 Park Lane, the $22 million Dick and Jinger Heath mansion designed by Cole Smith on Park Lane, now owned by Scott Ginsburg and listed with another high power broker at Briggs, Claire Dewar. Stay tuned: that listing is practically a blue light special!

Ellen sold townhomes for Al Hill, Jr., and most Highland Park notables.

“Since 1976, I have sold over a billion in residential real estate,” says Ellen. “Half of that was from 1996 to 2011, when I joined Ebby Halliday.”

Ellen has sold more than 173 multi million dollar homes in her career.

“Her strength is sales, listing and selling, and she will continue to do that,” says Robbie. “But I would even say that Ellen mentored me in a little way. I watched her from day one as she created two strong companies to become the leading luxury real estate brand in the market, focusing on giving the best service. That’s my goal, too.”

My goal was never to be the biggest, said Ellen, just the best of the boutiques.

“I couldn’t let him outdo me,” she said. “I had to join him!”

Oh and Robbie and his wife spent all day Sunday getting Ellen’s office ready for her, furniture and flowers.

“It’s beautiful,” she told me. “I came over here because they are having a Christmas luncheon, and I didn’t want to miss it.”

She added:  I wish my former company the very best.

But tall Robbie has already been forewarned by his petite, 151st agent.

“I told Robbie to get on his knees, or I need a stool,” said Ellen.

Ellen was not at her old firm’s regular Monday morning meeting on Luther Lane today — Dave Perry Miller and Bud Bush held the podium. DPM is keeping the Luther Lane office as well as Ellen’s Lakewood offices and will soon hoist new signs on both. I’ve spoken with a few agents who tell me they were not surprised at all by the move. Word on the street last week was that Ellen had whittled her choices down to two brokerages: Virginia Cook and Briggs.

“There was never a choice,” she told me today. “It was Briggs all along.”

I am not going to tell you how much this home at 9100 Guernsey is listed for — because my lawyer has not yet drafted any releases to cover reader heart attacks. (Well, I guess you can always look it up.) This masterpiece is about as close to owning a Frank Lloyd Wright design in Dallas that you can get without actually BUYING the Frank Lloyd Wright home a few streets over on Rockbrook, which is owned by Michael and Elysiann Bishop and $10 million. It was designed by Wright’s protege John Rattenbury, who designed Life Magazine’s House of the Year in 1997. Rattenbury, of course, studied under Wright at Taliesen West, and was Wright’s apprentice and senior architect. But here’s the beauty of this home: it was built in 1992. The Bishop’s home was built in 1954 and as gorgeous as it is, honestly, there are always headaches associated with a home that age. I mean, that’s almost as old as I am and I certainly create MANY headaches.

So you get this exquisite, pure Wright sensibility right down to the stainless steel counters in the kitchen. But you still get new — the soaking, marble-surround tub in the master, the flowing floorplan, all immediately from the front door entryway with large planter box and skylights. The living room has floor-to-ceiling glass viewing the wooded grounds. The kitchen is decked like nothing Wright could have imagined, with Gaggenau and Sub-Zero appliances, and is open to the living room and dining room. Of course you view the graceful pool and grounds from every window. The master has a raised ceiling, sliding-glass doors that open to a terrace, a fireplace, a wet bar and built-in cabinetry. The master bath is very updated, opens to a private courtyard. You get a study with walls of bookshelves, a fireplace and more glass. In true mid-century fashion, three secondary bedrooms offer generous natural light and ample built-ins. What I particularly like about this house is the size — just right by 2011 standards: 4121 square feet is perfect, located on 1.1 acres on a wooded, thickly treed cul de sac skirting the estate area of Bluffview.

So all that — architecturally significant, beautifully maintained (full disclosure, I know the owners and they are as OCD as they come) and stunning. The interiors are by Rattenbury’s wife, Kay, who lived and studies with the Wrights since she was 14. Land. Trees. Water. This home was originally listed for $1.9 back in January but has been reduced to — $1,499,000.

Anyone want to buy my house? Because this is a deal.

 

I just had a thought: what would Frank Lloyd Wright been like on Twitter?

Glenn CloseI found this piece in the LA Times over the holiday weekend — it takes a brutally honest look at the Texas economy. One of every four jobs in the U.S. has been created in Texas post-recession — something I know you’ve heard here before, but the sound is now resonating loud and clear across the nation all the way to L.A. Which is why, of course, Rick Perry is exploring a presidential run. Never mind that he has not had all that much to do with those jobs (not all CEO’s that’s for sure) as well as keeping our economy afloat and one of the high spots in the U.S.A. But as the writer, Rick Wartzman, points out, Texas has some quirks that can not be replicated elsewhere. For one, when the price at the pumps go up, so do we:

“Aspects of the Texas economy are unusual, if not unique, and it will be difficult or impossible for other states to replicate them. For example, the energy industry is booming right now, as are agricultural commodities destined for export — a boon for a huge cotton and beef producer like Texas.

What’s more, thorny trade-offs surely exist. Texas is attracting businesses, in part, because it has low taxes. But that, in turn, makes for a smaller safety net, which is one reason Texas has a high incidence of poverty and, compared with every other state, the biggest proportion of its population without health insurance. There are also serious questions about the quality of jobs in Texas. A “right to work” state, it is tied with Mississippi for having the biggest percentage of workers paid at or below the minimum wage.

But even with these significant caveats, Texas has long been the most robust jobs engine in the country, and its policies and practices deserve deeper reflection. Some say, for example, that an increase in education funding 25 years ago lifted the quality of the workforce. “That set the table for job expansion,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Mitchell Schnurman has asserted. (Budget pressures in Texas are now forcing education spending to go in the other direction.)”

Also worth a second look: the way we limit HELOC lines on homes to 80% loan to value ratio, which saved our butts big time this last go ’round. And we passed tort reform, which has helped medicine somewhat and is one reason why businesses are relocating here. Our real estate market did not bubble in most areas, our high end market is doing quite well. 

And that may be one reason why Glenn Beck decided to relocate here to North Texas. His move means that, more than ever, Texas is going to be in the limelight as a place where we have done many things right these last few years. Looking at the other side of the political spectrum, last fall, Glenn Close came to Dallas looking for underwriting for a film she desperately wants to make, a project she and her producer, Dallas native Bonnie Curtis, affectionately call “Nobbs.” Albert Nobbs is a feature film adaptation of George Moore’s  Irish short story of the same name, and  Glenn says when she played the role of Albert off Broadway twenty years ago, she felt a connection that never left her. Here’s a Dallas connection that will never leave her: Glenn picked up major bucks to get “Nobbs” into production.

Those of us who know exactly what goes into the sausage may be snickering, but like an 80 year old woman with a great facelift, we are looking pretty darn good to everyone else. Countless CEOs want to snag a second or third home here to take advantage of our lack of a state income tax. I say, come on in and drop some major bucks in our economy along the way.

All this, my dear readers, is good news for Texas property values.

Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck

Note: Our soon-to-be launched local Real Estate blog, CandysDirt.com, will feature regular profiles of top agents and brokers across North Dallas as well as contributions for real on-the-ground (dirt!) perspectives. But we just couldn’t wait to let the cat out of the bag:

Brad Holden is a Dallas-area broker/realtor who has been active in Texas Real Estate since 2003 selling mostly in North Dallas, Frisco, Allen and Plano. He focuses on new home sales

Brad, how did you get into RE?: My brother is a mortgage broker and I learned the mortgage side first then that led me to obtain my real estate license and focusing on new homes. That was in 2002, right out of college.

How was the market different then: The mortgage requirements were a lot more lenient and they were lending to anyone with a heartbeat. Credit was no way as big of an issue as it is today — there were so many financing options for first time homebuyers.

What do you love about real estate? I love showing buyers specific communities that will fit their needs and you can see in their eyes that they are happy and it all works for them and their family with the schools and neighborhood. I really believe I help them improve their life by placing them in a better location.

What are our current problems in the market: The foreclosures that are about to flood the market once the government moratorium is released — DFW really has so many foreclosures, you don’t see it in “the Bubbles”. We are one of the top foreclosure areas in the country. Sales were higher last year because of the buyer incentives, yet we are still comparing to those sales, apples to oranges. Mark my word, those foreclosures are coming. But I think after June and July, buyer confidence will increase

Why? Because the media won’t be comparing to last year’s incentive-spiked sales numbers. It will be a more normal comparison.

What about RE financing now? There actually is a builder allowing a 600 credit score right now for FHA and they are having a huge success with it — they are keeping the loans, not selling them. The 600 to 620 credit score cuts off a lot of first time home buyers.

How do I find that builder? Ha! Get in touch with me.

Where do you think our market will be in the next 10 years? For the last 20 years the DFW Metroplex has seen a 3 to 5% increase on average on appreciation and we are still going to see the exact same thing. We are not like the east and west coasts, where values seesaw up and down. We have so much land, which is why the appreciation isn’t as high here as CA or NY. But Texas has plenty of land and we will always have builders to build on it.

Where is your favorite area to sell in Dallas: Frisco — it is one of the fastest growing cities in America. Frisco fits the bill of everything people who contact me want: the infrastructure, quality of life, great schools, kind of like a wonderland. Come on up here and I’ll show you!

Champs D'Or

More proof that the rich are getting richer, and the American middle class is diminishing: according to Mother Jones Magazine, the top 100th of 1% of the wealthiest Americans, now make an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom
90% of the US population is $31,244. The median net worth of the average American family is about $120, 000, and your odds of becoming a millionaire at that salary are 1 in 22, But here’s what’s totally wrong with Washington, D.C. and why the real estate market there is faring so well: the average net worth of a Congressman (person) is a whopping $912,000 with a one in two chance of them becoming a millionaire. Real estate markets saturated with wealthy consumers always weather the storm — New York City, Aspen, D.C.

How will this translate into real estate sales? Markets in wealth-populated cities will weather the economic tide: Highland Park won’t look much like a recession or a double dip. I foresee more big-ticket home purchases — multi-million dollar mega homes, multiple homes for the wealthy — after all, one-quarter of $27 million leaves $7 million for housing expense. At the other end, for those earning less than $100,000 I foresee less home ownership and more rental. What concerns me is what will happen to the values of all those in-between homes.

What do you think?