Steamboat Springs A Georgia man and a New York man purchased the trophy trout fishery on the 514-acre Tailwaters Ranch along the Yampa River below Lake Catamount early this year to use for their private recreation.
The property, which is about eight miles south of Steamboat Springs and is visible from the west side of Rabbit Ears Pass, sold for $17.65 million after selling for $19.4 million in 2007. The ranch was listed for sale by Live Water Properties based in Jackson, Wyo. The asking price was $21.9 million.
“They are not developers, and they intend to preserve the hay meadows. They intend to use it as a private fishing preserve,” said Rocky Tschappat, the new owners’ representative.
According to records at the Routt County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, the purchaser was Yampa Tailwaters Partners. But Steamboat Springs Realtor Jon Wade first reported, and Tschappat confirmed, that the men behind the purchase are Dirk Ziff and William Porter “Billy” Payne.
Payne became the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters PGA tournament, in 2006 and is a managing director of the New York investment bank Gleacher and Co. Payne was instrumental in bringing the 1996 Summer Olympics to Atlanta and served as chairman of the organizing committee.
Ziff and his brothers Robert and Daniel have ties to Aspen and are the sons of the late publishing magnate William Ziff, founder of Ziff Davis Media. They are involved in the hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management and are perennially mentioned on Forbes’ list of the 400 wealthiest Americans.
The 2007 sale of the ranch to a business operated by noted trout entrepreneur Donny Beaver associated the ranch to Pennsylvania-based HomeWaters fishing club with a presence in Vail that provided exclusive fishing opportunities to well-heeled anglers. The Vail operation included fishing on the 30,000-acre Piney Valley Ranch.
Beaver had spoken of the development potential of the Tailwaters parcel, but Tschappat said the new owners do not intend to operate the ranch as a business and plan only to seek a county permit to build a single home and perhaps some guest cabins for the use of friends on a parcel to the rear of the property where it would not be visible from Colorado Highway 131.
“It won’t be used like Donny was using HomeWaters, which was a private club,” Tschappat said.
Tschappat, who served as the buyers’ real estate broker, said Ziff, Payne and their guests are apt to use local fishing guides themselves when they visit. He said that arrangements had been made for a local agriculture operator to harvest hay from the ranch and that existing ranch buildings, which include a cabin, a 1934 home and a 1950 home, will remain in place.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com