Denver Rocky Mountain News
PROJECT JUMP-STARTS GYPSUM LUXURY HOUSING TO TRANSFORM TINY EAGLE COUNTY BURG
Gypsum, a tiny dot on the map that for years was best- known as a cheap place to sleep for Vail employees during the ski season, will soon be home to a $950 million gated community called Brightwater Club Village.
The upscale club, about 45 miles west of Vail, will be anchored by an 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.
When completed, the development could have as many as 535 homes on 963 acres. Lots are priced from about $300,000. Some of the custom homes are expected to cost $2 million or more. So far, 86 lots have sold.
When completed, Brightwater also will include 27 acres of lakes, three miles of trout streams, a fishing retreat, an artisan pavilion, a convenience store, putting course, a wellness center and spa, and a clubhouse. The project, scheduled to open next year, is expected to be completed by 2009.
Brightwater Club is being developed by Clearwater Development Inc., headed by Russ Hatle and Wells Marvin. Marvin has built more than $100 million worth of homes along golf courses in California, while Hatle heads Imprimis Corp. based in Palm Desert, Calif., which has developed business parks, resort and second-home communities. Hatle is a partner with Denver-based PrimeWest on two developments in the Denver area, the PrimeCenter at NorthRidge business park in Westminster and the PrimeCenter at Rampart along the southeast corridor.
Minneapolis-based Marshall BankFirst recently agreed to provide $27.5 million in financing for Brightwater.
Gypsum, founded along the banks of the Eagle River in 1887 by the Colorado Midland Railroad and incorporated as a town in 1911, has seen its population increase by about 168 percent to 4,700 the past 15 years.
Brightwater Club, unlike many other developments, has not been controversial.
"No, actually there were some good benefits to the town when we annexed it," said Lana Gallegos, senior planner for Gypsum.
"One of the reasons we annexed it, it brought with it some substantial water rights," Gallegos said. "And with having some higher-end housing here, it is going to promote some support services. And it helped our tax base and impact fees. For example, it is helping pay for the construction of our ($10 million) recreation center that just got under way."
Hatle said the developers "are not trying to be a ski community like Beaver Creek or Bachelor Gulch."
Stephen Clarke, president and CEO of Denver-based PrimeWest, is buying one of the Brightwater "cabins," which range in size from 2,300 to 2,800 square feet.
Clarke declined to say how much he is paying for his home, but Hatle said the cabins will be priced from $850,000 to $1 million.
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