Sidney Peak improvements paying off

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Large colorful ads, a revamped image and improved infrastructure are pulling prospective buyers into the Sidney Peak Ranch residential project south of Steamboat Springs.

After buyers are there, the large building sites with 180- to 270-degree views of the surrounding Yampa Valley sell themselves, said Rod Hanna, president and CEO of Sidney Peak Ranch LLC, which operates the development.

Impressive scenery is among the few things that have remained constant at Sidney Peak Ranch since its inception as an upscale hunt-equestrian community 13 years ago.

That concept never caught on, and in 2004, developer and Chicago businessman John Boler hired a development consulting firm and a team of local businesses to reinvent the ranch and its marketing strategy to reflect Steamboat's Western roots.

The ranch, after all, was named for a one-time stagecoach stop and the long-gone town of Sidney.

"I think it was very important," Hanna said. "This is cattle country, not hunt-horse country."

In December, Boler hired Hanna, former senior vice-president of marketing for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., to take over the revamping process and management duties.

The ranch has 32 lots that are 40 and 50 deeded acres in size. Building envelopes are 8 to 10 acres, and the remaining land is considered shared open space among residents.

The open space -- about 1,200 acres -- provides horse pastures and hay and also is leased for cattle grazing.

This year, Hanna has coordinated more than $1 million in needed improvements, including renovations to the community's indoor riding arena and a new Western-style gate to replace the outdated entrance.

The improvements bolstered buyers' confidence in Sidney Peak Ranch management and helped secure sales: Five lots sold or came under contract this year -- about as many as were sold between 2000 and 2003.

Hanna expects to reach his goal of six sales in 2005, leaving 18 lots unsold.

"It's showing that what we promised to do, we've done," he said.

Better amenities justified a 7 percent to 10 percent price increase on available lots, which range from $742,000 to $1,065,000, Hanna said.

"Our feeling is -- certainly John Boler's feeling, and I agree with him -- the lots really are undervalued when all the infrastructure improvements are complete," he said.

Sidney Peak Ranch's proximity to Steamboat -- it's about nine miles to the Steamboat Ski Area and 12 miles to downtown -- help set it apart from similar upscale communities, as do the horse facilities, Hanna said.

For more information about Sidney Peak Ranch, call 871-0141.

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