By Mark Samuelson
On a weekend when Denver’s real estate market is the talk of the country and when Winter Park, as usual, has some of the best snow in the state, what’s amazing is not how much luxury resort building is going on in Winter Park right now, but how little.Lance Gutersohn, broker/owner of Re/Max Peak to Peak in Winter Park, who’s watched the Winter Park scene 35 years and spearheaded some of its nicer projects, will show you a lone opportunity that could have you up here in one of 12 new townhouses with some real size and luxury, just approved through platting this past Tuesday, for a site that’s a 2-minute shuttle ride from the base, with ski-in capability from the mountain’s Discovery Park and Turnpike Run.
Gutersohn says Winter Park is typical of Rockies resorts in that it’s lagging behind the Denver market and is way undervalued now – land at 50 cents on the dollar to what he saw nine years ago. He’ll show you the picture this weekend, including the plays that bigger investors are making: Intrawest opening its second restaurant high on the slopes; the owner of A-list-quality Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort giving a B&B in town a nice makeover; and an expanding tavern scene that includes a bustling brewpub next to Gutersohn’s office. “Even if somebody has just moved to Denver, they’re realizing that there’s something special here – closer, less glamor and glitz, and much more affordable,” Gutersohn told me as we lunched near his office.
Gutersohn will also tell you about less visible happenings that bode well for Winter Park – including a new instrument landing system coming to jet-accessible Granby Airport 20 minutes north; and the Grand County Commissioners’ success in protecting fishing and stream flows along the Fraser River (he values it at tens of millions of dollars).
That’s before figuring the unique closeness to the Mile High that has always set this valley apart – 90 minutes from DIA and avoiding tie-ups at the Eisenhower Tunnel. The 12 homes at Serenity Trail at Winter Park – actually six duplexes, each four bedroom/five bath from 2,780 to 3,280 square feet – are all ‘end units’ with high ceilings and light from three sides, plus attached garage, pre-construction priced from $999,900. The site, a 1970s lodge called the Pines Inn that developer Big Valley Construction will clear for Serenity Trail, lies 700 yards from Gemini Express lift – closer still to a future lift that shows on the ski resort’s master plan.
Big Valley – it created luxurious Base Camp townhomes in the resort – plans clearing some 100-foot spruce to open up views from the six downhill-facing units from $1.299 million. Architecture is by luxury resort veteran Scott Munn, specking choice finishes: lots of glass, rough-sawn floors with in-floor radiant heat, alder verticals, and kitchens with cherry cabinets, Wolf dual-fuel 6-burner range, designer hood, Sub-Zero fridge and Asko dishwasher. The first three contracts, Gutersohn adds, will get an outdoor living package valued at $30,000 – 6-person hot tub, firepit, fire-chat table, overhead deck heater and an outdoor kitchen with island grill and fridge.
You could hold a 30-day reservation for a 5 percent deposit, fully refundable. “These are a fraction of Aspen or Beaver Creek prices,” Gutersohn says; then adds, “but this isn’t Aspen.” You can call him today to line up a private visit; or visit Peak to Peak’s office: From I-70 take U.S. 40 west 28 miles, thru downtown Winter Park, two blocks past Hideaway Park opposite the Post Office.
WHERE: Serenity Trail, pre-sale of 12 luxury ski-in townhomes beside Winter Park Resort, 4-bed/5-bath, 1-car attached garage; 5% 30-day refundable deposit; free outdoor living package with 6-seat hot tub, fire pit, deck heater, outdoor kitchen with grill/fridge on first 3 sales. 78491 U.S. Hwy 40, Winter Park; from I-70 take U.S. 40 west 28 mi., thru town, 2 blks past Hideaway Park, opposite Post Ofc
PRICE: From $999,900
WHEN: Today & this weekend 10 a.m.-5 p.m. or by appointment
Mark Samuelson writes on real estate and business; you can email him email@example.com. You can see all of Mark Samuelson’s columns online at DenverPostHomes.com