Eagle Ridge to auction smaller condos

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— Developers of the Eagle Ridge Lodge are so eager to sell the smaller units in their condominium project they plan to auction them off on Aug. 12. Of the 10 condominiums to be auctioned, four will be sold to the highest bidders, regardless of price.

However, people close to the project insist the unusual step of liquidating luxury condos at auction does not mean the bottom has fallen out of the local real estate market.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," Jim Cook said. He is a principal in Colorado Group Realty, which had the original listing contract on Eagle Ridge Lodge. Cook helped guide the project through the city planning process before turning it over to the eventual developers, Summit Habitats in Edwards.

Cook said the lodge units with more square footage, and particularly corner units with better views, sold quickly. But the demand for the smaller units just wasn't there.

"They missed the market on the smaller units," Cook said. "People just were resisting the product. It has nothing to do with our market going in the tank."

However, Cook liked the product he bought a two-bedroom unit himself. Sheldon Good will open the bidding on the condos at $50,000 for studios and $100,000 for two-bedroom units. The larger units were listed on the open market for $345,000.

Mike Buckley, sales manager for Summit Habitats said the company's principal, Sandy Treat, decided to go the auction route on the final 10 units in the lodge so that the sales staff could give its full attention to the sale of the townhome aspect of the project. The townhomes are currently under construction.

"Sandy made the decision that he just wanted to get rid of the 10 units as soon as possible," Buckley said. "The townhomes are selling very quickly. We wanted to be proactive."

Asked if Treat needed to convert a loan on the construction of the lodge to permanent financing in order to proceed with the development of the townhomes at the desired pace, Buckley repeated that the decision was based upon a desire to concentrate on the townhomes.

The auction will be conducted by Sheldon Good and Company Auctions, a national firm based in Chicago. It will be held at the Denver Marriott Hotel Southeast. Jim MacDonnell of Sheldon Good's office in Denver said the auction is being advertised nationally in the Wall Street Journal for eight weeks, as well as in newspapers throughout Colorado's mountain towns and along the Front Range.

The auction will be held in Denver, MacDonnell said, in order to be close to a larger population base and a larger airport.

"What we have found in resort property is that bidders make one trip to look at the property," but prefer the convenience of a large city for the actual auction, MacDonnell said.

The condominiums being offered are located on the first, second and third floors of the lodge and vary in size from a studio with 509 square feet up to two-bedroom, two-bath units with a den, and offering 1,234 square feet. The townhomes, in contrast, range in size from 2,400 to 2,800 square feet, and include four to five bedrooms. Buckley said they are selling from $575,000 to $700,000.

He said he has the first 11 under hard contract and the next 10 townhomes, in three buildings, are poised to begin construction.

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