MARCH 29, 2012 POST:
Texas Parks & Wildlife voted to sell 2,014 acres of the Fortress Cliffs Ranch adjoining Palo Duro Canyon State Park to Sooter Ranch of Perryton for $2.4 million. The acreage is under a conservation easement held by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.
Read more HERE.
SEPTEMBER 17, 2008 POST:
Almost 3,000 pristine acres valued at more than $5 million along the rim of Palo Duro Canyon has been sold to The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a nonprofit land conservation organization. After purchasing the Texas Panhandle property, TPL immediately transferred it to Texas Parks & Wildlife, thus increasing the size of Palo Duro Canyon State Park by nearly 10 percent.
“The sale of this property represents the core of our company’s mission,” says John Watson, President & CEO of Orvis/Cushman & Wakefield in Colorado Springs, which brokered the sale.
Watson spent more than a year spearheading the deal: securing the listing, seeking out TPL and introducing them to Texas Parks & Wildlife, and then patiently shepherding the transaction through numerous appraisals and reviews. “There is a finite supply of investment-grade recreational properties, and Orvis/Cushman & Wakefield’s goal is to find the best stewards for the protection and appreciation of the land,” Watson added.
A spectacular sporting and recreational property, the 2,864-acre Fortress Cliffs Ranch was recently appraised at $5.22 million ($1,800+ per acre). By deeding it to the State of Texas, TPL increased the size of the adjacent 29,187-acre Palo Duro Canyon State Park by almost 10 percent. “The rare chance to protect six miles of cliffs overlooking the Grand Canyon of Texas, to keep that bluff looking the way the first Texans saw it — this is unparalleled,” said Carter Smith, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director. “I know all Texans can appreciate the significance of this acquisition for our park system. It’s for everyone alive today, and for generations to come.”
The deal closed on August 28.
Eye on the Market: Dean Saunders has chaired the Florida Real Estate Commission, is certified as an Accredited Land Consultant (ALC), and was awarded the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation in 2010. The Land Report asked one of the country’s leading land brokers for his take on current market conditions.
You’ve got a long history on the land. You’re a sixth-generation Floridian with deep roots in agriculture. What keeps you going?
I love what I do. I love the people I work with. I love getting outside and looking at land. Every day I wake up, I can’t wait to get going. It’s fun, and I get paid to do it.
When you were in the Florida Legislature, you helped craft key conservation legislation. Can that work as an investment angle?
Definitely. I’ve got one client, a rancher, whose primary investment has been land over the last 15 years, he’s tripled his acreage by skillful use of conservation easements.
What’s the strategy?
He buys a piece of land for farming, hay, sod, and cattle. Then he sells a conservation easement. With the proceeds, he buys another piece of property and starts the whole process over again.
Who are your foreign investors?
It wasn’t too long ago that we had a bunch of Venezuelans trying to get their money out ahead of Chavez. Today’s market is primarily influenced by Canadians, Brits, some Germans, as well as South Americans.
Are they all about farmland?
Seems like everyone is, right? I’m a member of the realtors land institute, and a lot of my buddies in the Midwest and the Delta have seen land prices triple these past few years. A big part of that is commodity pricing, but there’s also the market. Investors are also looking for a safe haven for their money. You can’t earn anything from banks. The stock market is so volatile. But if you buy the right piece of land at the right price, you can generate a 5 percent return from cash rents. Rising commodity prices mean farmers can pay higher cash rents. This increases the value of the land. So people are buying farmland as fast as they can find it.
Hunting land isn’t just for birds, especially in the South. From the Mississippi Delta to the rice fields along the Gulf Coast, land with waterfowl has long been a great investment. Some investors buy and sell these tracts purely for speculation, and others for Mallards and Gadwalls. The really savvy do both.
If you’re a registered voter in Florida and a landowner as well, there is an important amendment on this November’s ballot you need to be aware of. Amendment 4 could significantly reduce your tax liability, provided you set aside your land for conservation purposes. Read more