William Bruce Harrison’s $105 Million Acquisition of Cielo Vista Ranch


Jackson Walker’s real estate group has successfully represented the buyer of Cielo Vista Ranch, an 83,000-acre stretch of land in Southern Colorado. The property is one of the largest ranches in the country and was originally listed at $105 million.

This transaction is the largest ranch sale in the United States for 2017.

Widely regarded as a geographical marvel, the ranch is home to the 14,053-foot Culebra Peak, the highest privately-owned peak in the world, as well as 17 other peaks, a range of foothills and alpine, and over 100 miles of creeks. There is a thriving selection of wildlife on the ranch including thousands of elk and bighorn sheep and several species of trout. With a third of the land already dedicated as a conservation easement, the buyer plans to preserve its abundant geographical features and natural resources.

The historic property has changed names and hands several times since the 1800s when it was part of a land grant from Mexico and Spain. Throughout the years since, the ranch was the subject of controversial litigation that included a number of decisions rendered by the Colorado Supreme Court.

Representing the buyer was a team of attorneys led by real estate partner Alfie Meyerson (Picture). The group also included environmental attorney Pete Wahl, corporate attorney David Deaton, tax attorney Nate Smithson, and real estate attorney Carey Hain. The deal encompassed a multitude of legal considerations, including multi-tier financing, water rights, conservation, corporate formation and tax issues, and structuring the acquisition as a reverse like-kind exchange.

Involved fees earner: Alfred Meyerson – Jackson Walker L.L.P.; Carey Hain – Jackson Walker L.L.P.; Peter Wahl – Jackson Walker L.L.P.; David Deaton – Jackson Walker L.L.P.; Nathan Smithson – Jackson Walker L.L.P.;

Law Firms: Jackson Walker L.L.P.;

Clients: William Bruce Harrison;

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Author: Ambrogio Visconti