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Banning Lewis Ranch: a timeline

By: The Gazette
June 10, 2014 Updated: June 10, 2014 at 8:15 pm


- 1897: William Marion Banning starts Banning Ranch near Colorado Springs.

- 1927: Raymond W. "Pinky" Lewis - husband of Banning's daughter, Ruth Banning - begins buying land east of Colorado Springs to expand the ranch and sells the original Banning Ranch. By the early 1930s, he expands the Hereford cattle ranch to 38,000 acres stretching from Falcon to Widefield.

- November 1963: Phoenix-based Lawrence & Stegall Colorado Properties Inc. buys 23,670 acres of the ranch from Lewis for an undisclosed price.

- March 1965: Lawrence & Stegall defaults on a loan from U.S. Steel and Carnegie Pension Trust Fund, and deeds the ranch to Colorado Springs Land Holding Co., a New York-based company controlled by the pension fund.

- November 1981: A subsidiary of Mobil Land Development Corp., in turn a subsidiary of Mobil Corp., buys the ranch for $22.56 million for residential, commercial and industrial development.

- August 1983-May 1984: Mobil sells 1,562 acres to three groups of buyers for $18.71 million for what eventually becomes the Colorado Springs Ranch and Pheasant Run housing developments and a motel site.

- October 1985: Tucson, Ariz., developer Frank Aries buys 20,483 acres for $92.05 million from Mobil. Western Savings of Phoenix makes a 10-year, $104 million loan to Aries and his partners for this and subsequent purchases.

- October 1986: Aries buys the adjacent 3,631-acre Colorado Centre development for $41.3 million from L-P Associates. Western lends Aries an additional $33.3 million. In less than a year, he has purchased 26,003 acres for $158 million.

- September 1988: Colorado Springs annexes 24,310 acres owned by Aries, including the Banning Lewis Ranch and Colorado Centre. It is the largest annexation in the city's history.

- June 1989: The ranch becomes the biggest property involved in the nation's savings and loan bailout, as federal regulators take over Western Savings. Two months later, Aries deeds land to Western in lieu of foreclosure after defaulting on his loan.

- March 1993: Banning Lewis Ranch Corp., a company owned by Saudi billionaires, buys most of the ranch for $18.5 million.

- October 2000: Capital Pacific Holdings Inc. of Newport Beach, Calif., enters a contract to buy the ranch from the Saudis.

- September 2001: Capital Pacific pays $55 million to buy 21,400 acres of ranch property. The owners say that over the next 50 years or so, the ranch will become home to about 75,000 residences and 180,000 people.

- June 2004: The property's ownership is restructured, with Banning Lewis Ranch Co. LLC, a newly formed holding company, paying $94.2 million to buy the ranch. It's capitalized and managed by Makar Properties of Newport Beach, Calif., which, in turn was spun off from Capital Pacific.

- August 2006: Banning Lewis Ranch Academy, the first school for the new development, opens.

- July 2007: Development of the ranch's initial residential area southeast of Woodmen and Marksheffel roads gets under way.

- January 2008: The first Banning Lewis Ranch homeowners move in.

- 2009-10: Like many Colorado Springs residential developments, and those around the nation, Banning Lewis wrestles with a severe slump in housing construction.

- Oct. 27, 2010: Banning Lewis Ranch Co. and subsidiary Banning Lewis Ranch Development I and II file Chapter 11 petitions with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, citing more than $242 million in debt.

- June 2011: A bankruptcy auction of the ranch yields two buyers: Ultra Petroleum of Houston and Keybank National Association, a lender on the property. Ultra eventually pays $20 million for 18,000 acres, while Keybank bids $24.5 million for 2,600 acres, which is credited against the $65 million it's owed by the ranch's owners. Ultra announces it will drill for oil on the property.

- May 2012: Denver-based Oakwood Homes pays more than $16 million for Keybank's 2,600 acres.

- March 2013: Ultra Petroleum says it will abandon oil exploration plans after initial tests at a well in unincorporated El Paso County prove disappointing.

- June 2013: Ultra says it will sell its 18,000 acres.

- Tuesday: Nor'wood Development Group, one of the Colorado Springs' biggest real estate developers, announces it's contracted to buy Ultra's property.


Source: Gazette research

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