Jeff Temple's next project

Marabou combines amenities, $2 million sites with ranch operations

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— Jeff Temple and his partners plan to take the successes Temple achieved at Storm Mountain Ranch, along with the lessons learned, and apply them on an even bigger scale at Marabou.

Marabou is a land preservation subdivision recently approved by Routt County. It would create 62 homesteads on almost 1,800 acres of ranchland west of Steamboat Springs.

The land, comprising several longtime ranches, is five miles west of Steamboat and north of U.S. Highway 40. Marabou is bounded by Routt County Road 42 on the south and by two miles of the Elk River on the west.

In 1998, Temple and his brother Jamie broke new ground in the Steamboat real estate market with Storm Mountain Ranch. They created 14 home sites on a 1,063-acre parcel just south of the city limits. They used fewer than 40 acres for buildings and set aside the balance in conservation easements for wildlife and agriculture.

Relying on consultants such as Steve Herter of Meeker, they used existing irrigation laterals to create a system of creeks and ponds that contain trophy trout. They also built a national park-style lodge near the waterfalls on Walton Creek. The Temples sold the home sites for more than $2.5 million each.

"I can recall, when I sold the last lot, how badly I wished I had more to sell," Temple said last week.

He went on to develop May--tag Mountain Ranch near Hill--side, where 27 homesteads of 100 acres each were designed on 2,953 acres.

Now, he's back in Routt County and ready to roll out Marabou. Home sites will range in price from $1.8 million to $5 million. Annual fees to support the ranch amenities will be about $20,000, Temple said. Five home sites have been reserved by people outside the development team, he added.

"We're very encouraged -- we don't even have our plat filed yet," Temple said.

Temple and partners Mark Hall and Jeff Jepson of Savannah, Ga., plan to continue an active cattle ranch on the land while offering their homeowners the amenities of a resort.

The primary attractions will be horseback riding and trout fishing. But Temple said he learned from his experience at Storm Mountain to provide more activities for families and women. Accordingly, Marabou will offer a wellness/spa facility, separate fitness room, a teen hangout with nonelectronic games and a theater, among other activities.

Marabou will take it a step further, offering its owners access to a team of outdoor guides with notable credentials.

Ranch manager Chad Bedell is the 1996 world champion steer wrestler. He'll supervise a crew of wranglers who will lead guided trail rides for residents and guests. They can even get a taste of what it's like to be a ranch hand.

"If people want to go out and fix a fence or move cattle with Chad, they can do that," Temple said.

Temple said he has managed to operate a natural, grass-fed beef program at Maytag Mountain Ranch and keep it in the black. He intends to do the same at Marabou.

"We're serious about the business -- Chad is a cowman. We have some very productive hay fields, and we'll also do some dry land rye on the fields up above. Cattle raised on the ranch will graze on grass exclusively with very few pesticides or herbicides used to control weeds. Instead, sheep and goats may be introduced to control weeds."

Temple also is placing strong emphasis on improving wildlife habitat at Marabou. The design is sensitive to an existing grouse lek and elk calving grounds.

What Colorado Division of Wildlife officer "Mike Middleton challenged us to do was to have no net loss of wildlife habitat, almost like you would with wetlands," Temple said. His team plans to offset shrubs removed to create the home sites by transplanting plants into 20 acres of "bio-islands" in the hay meadows.

Cattle will be fenced out of the riparian areas along the Elk River, allowing the cottonwoods that line the river to regenerate.

TCD of Steamboat Springs is the general contractor for the community buildings at Marabou. Temple promised that green building and recycling practices would be followed in the community buildings and that owners would be given incentives to do the same. The engineering team is studying the possibility of using gray water for irrigation. They plan to purchase wind power, and, as he did at Storm Mountain Ranch, Temple will insist on covenants that minimize light pollution.

Marabou is being marketed by DMB Real Estate of Scottsdale, Ariz. Marabou spokeswoman Michelle Olson said DMB's track record has won it a following of real estate investors who track the company's new projects. A pool of homeowners in the Scottsdale area has been identified as being among potential buyers, she added.

Temple said trout habitat improvement work on the Elk River had begun before spring runoff began this year, with road construction and community buildings to get under way this summer.

-- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205 or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

Marabou (the name comes from a material used to tie trout fishing flies) is being developed by Elk River Partners LLC, a partnership between North Point Real Estate of Savannah, Ga., and Due West Land Ltd. of Steamboat Springs. The founding principal partners of Elk River Partners are North Point's Mark Hall and Jeff Jepson. Managing principal partner is Due West's Jeff Temple.

Temple has Colorado developments Water Dance, Storm Mountain Ranch and Maytag Mountain Ranch under his belt.

Hall and Jepson's company comprises four divisions -- industrial, office, residential and retail. North Point has developed more than 8.5 million square feet of commercial properties and more than 10,000 acres of master planned communities. The residential projects include River Oaks, a gated community along the banks of the Ogeechee River south of Savannah. The homes there are surrounded by wildlife corridors and forests of pine and cypress trees.

Master guide program

Residents will have the opportunity to ski, fish and ride quarter horses with expert guides including:

Recently retired Nordic combined Olympian Todd Lodwick is designing the Nordic trails at Marabou, and he will impart the subtleties of skate skiing to Marabou families.

Residents who want to spend time on Mount Werner can share the company of professional snowboarder Abi Slingsby or 1992 Olympic bronze medal mogul skier Nelson Carmichael.

Fishing guides include Steve Herter of Meeker and Steamboat's Steven Henderson.

Wranglers under the supervision of rodeo champion Chad Bedell can go for long trail rides or on guided pack trips into the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area.

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