The latest in high-end developments

Brief by Central Staff

Real Estate – December 2005 – Colorado Central Magazine

In our experience, magazine publishing has not been a route to fame and fortune, but it worked differently for Malcolm Forbes, who founded an eponymous business magazine and left a huge estate when he died at age 70 in 1990.

Part of that estate was the Forbes Trinchera Ranch in Colorado, which spreads across 171,400 acres in the Sangre de Cristo Range east of Fort Garland. His heirs (among them the Steve Forbes who sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2000) announced in November that they plan to raise $70 million by selling exclusive home sites on the ranch.

About half of the ranch has been set aside with a conservation easement. Up to 17 residences — each up to 10,000 square feet — can be built on the ranch. Buyers won’t get individual parcels, but will become part-owners of the entire ranch.

Malcolm Forbes acquired the ranch in 1969, and for years has maintained a 45-room lodge there for well- heeled people who want to get away from it all — rates start at $350 a day, with a three-night minimum.

The Trinchera Ranch shares some history with the next big parcel to the south — the Taylor Ranch or La Sierra, depending on your politics or your cultural geography.

The tale began in 1843, when New Mexico Governor Pedro Armijo issued an immense land grant along the Sangre de Cristo Range to Stephen Luis Lee and Narciso Beaubian. They were supposed to import colonists to settle Mexico’s northern frontier, but no settlement took root until San Luis was founded in 1851.

William Gilpin, Colorado’s first territorial governor, acquired the Sangre de Cristo Grant, and sold some smaller parcels before he split the big remainder.

The south part became the Taylor Ranch, subject to years of controversy and litigation from people in San Luis, who argued that they were entitled to grazing and timber rights on the ranch on account of promises made by Beaubian to their colonist ancestors. Eventually, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Beaubian’s will did provide such access, and some San Luis residents have received access rights.

The north part became the Trinchera Ranch, and its history isn’t nearly as contentious, perhaps because there was no history of San Luis community use that far north.