The mountain village of Crested Butte, Colorado, spans less than a square mile and is nearly 9,000 feet taller than the width. So when Chicago billionaires quietly began buying historic buildings, residents took note.
“I was alarmed that people would come in and buy a lot of commercial property in the community,”; former Gunnison County commander told The Daily Beast. We have a few owners who own two or three different commercial properties. But the size of this thing is bigger than what we’ve seen before. ”
The billionaire in question is investment banker Mark Walter, CEO of Guggenheim Partners, with an estimated net worth of $ 5.3 billion due to strong media outrage. ForbesWith a little fanfare His most open public move came in 2012 when Walter partnered with Magic Johnson and several other entertainment figures to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers for $ 2.15 billion.
But Walter’s activities in Crested Butte have attracted the attention of local residents among some 4,700 people this year alone. Walter bought six commercial properties, including several historic buildings. A downtown property and family resort called Almont, located at the intersection of the East River and Taylor. Walter closes the deal under a limited liability company registered at his Chicago office address.
“He’s a great man – I won’t say that. ‘It’s a secret’ – but it’s not prepared for what he’s going to do with this building, ”Crested Butte Mayor Jim Schmidt told The Daily Beast Realtor Eric Roemer echoing his uneasy feeling:“ Nobody really knows. What is his game plan? “
Zuckerberg grabbed another hunk of Hawaii beach.
“I don’t know what Mr. Walter plans to do,” said George Sibley, a writer and Gunnison County native, “and I don’t think anyone will do either – maybe Mr. Walter. with”
In his new investment, Walter bought a building called Forest Queen for $ 1.55 million, a commercial property with a spa and tattoo parlor for $ 1.85 million, a restaurant called Wooden Nickel, for $ 1.85 million. $ 1.7 million in health clubs, an undeveloped $ 5.5 million, and a $ 6.3 million resort.In total, the new purchases totaled more than $ 20 million.
Walter did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Here are some patterns for him. In the comments section for Crested Butte NewsLocal writer Mark Reamon explains that contacting the CEO of the brokerage to see if he can discuss future plans. “After she finished laughing,” Remon wrote, “Basically she stated that I might have a good chance. Than to have Donald Trump talk to me about almonds. ”
Even Roemer, who owned Wooden Nickel before Walter bought it, said he was unable to receive any information about the plans. “The only thing we were informed by his representative was, at least with Wooden Nickel, he was interested. It will continue as it has always been, ”Roemer said. But he plans to open that business at the end of May. “
The purchase made Schmidt somewhat confusing, as commercial property in ski towns can create a tough economy. Usually, he said, commercial buildings sell for about three times the price of local housing. But in the high-end skiing area at home is very expensive, math can make it harder for small businesses to profit. “You have to overcharge for a hamburger,” he says. “That’s the challenge.”
A puzzling question for residents is what Walter will do with the undeveloped lot north of town headed for the ski slopes. The sprawling real estate, known locally as “Sixth Street Station,” was approved to build a large hotel and residential complex in 2017, according to Schmidt, it will be the largest in Crested Butte, but it is not yet available. It’s clear whether Walter has plans for a construction project or not ..
Walter has been quietly in the Crested Butte neighborhood for the past decade. He and his wife have owned a house in Mt. Crested Butte since 2009, and in 2011 he bought a commercial complex called the Grubstake Building for $ 766,700.Grubstake is home to a teahouse, café, art gallery and fishing shop. Which Walter is still working
Over a period of time, the CEO followed a local authorization process to transform the building into a music and dance venue, according to Starr and Schmidt.He later supported a one-off plan for that. Street parking
“He doesn’t like the parking fee instead, which we apply to every business,” Schmidt said. “To be honest, I was a little surprised he thought the amount was too much considering what he paid for the third midfielder. For the Dodgers “
Several years ago, the city had an advertising slogan: “Crested Butte – What Aspen was and Vail never was,” the joke is that Crested Butte is “Colorado’s last great ski town,” one town that still has a lot of fun. Not buying from a wealthier outsider looking for a seasonal stay. But some residents worry that Walter’s investments might change.
“Of course, one of the concerns is that as more people have commercial properties like that, rents tend to go up, which makes it more difficult for business owners,” said Star. This might eventually aggravate that problem as well. ”
But Sibley points out that Walter has long followed a wealthy investor in Colorado. “There wouldn’t be even a Colorado city if it weren’t for outside money,” he said, referring to some Kansas bankers who invested in the ski slopes in Colorado. Crested Butte and the Texas distillery that operate a nearby mine.
“Before that, of course it was a coal mining town and a town for the Colorado Fuel and Steel Company, based in Pueblo,” Sibley said, “so it was a wholly owned subsidiary of third parties.”
But Walter’s investment could be heralding a new species of outsider wave. ‘We have come to a point where billionaires are pushing billionaires out,’ said Star, “which many of us have been living here for a while hopefully never going to happen.”
Read more at The Daily Beast.
Do you have any tips? Send it to The Daily Beast here.
Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Apply now!
The Daily Beast Inside membership delves into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.