Sale of ranch opens Springs to Expansion
Company pays $55 million, plans to deal with developers
by Rich Laden
A California real estate company completed its purchase Monday of the massive Banning-Lewis Ranch on Colorado Springs' eastern edge, positioning the city for decades of new residential and commercial growth.
Capital Pacific Holdings Inc. of Newport Beach, California, paid $55 million for 21,400 acres of ranch land, according to Palmer McAllister Co., the Springs commercial brokerage that managed the land on behalf of the seller, Banning-Lewis Ranch Corp.
"We've been working on this for quite a while and we're pleased the deal is completed," said Dale Wheeler, a Palmer McAllister broke and project manager of the ranch.
Capital Pacific officials couldn't be reached for comment Monday.
But in previous comments, company representatives indicated that the ranch could be parceled up and sold off in chunks to some of the area's major developers.
The deal represents a major step forward in the evolution of Colorado Springs.
The ranch encompasses almost the city's entire eastern border. But since it bought the property for $18.5 million in 1993, the Banning-Lewis Ranch Corp.-a company controlled by members of the billionaire al-Ibrahim family of Saudi Arabia- did little to develop the land other than to sell lots on the southern end.
As a result, the bulk of the property blocked the city's easterly growth, forcing development to the north, northeast, and south. Other developments leapfrogged the ranch to the east, springing up in places such as Ellicott and Falcon in unincorporated El Paso County.
Now, with Monday's sale, the ranch is poised to be built up with the thousands of new homes and businesses that were envisioned when the land was annexed by the city 13 years ago.
"It's good for the city to be able to open up this piece of land, which has served as a barrier to eastern expansion," said Les Gruen, head of Urban Strategies, a Springs consulting firm, and who worked for Mobile Oil Co. when it owned the ranch in the early 1980's.