Real estate developer Tom Chapman has a unique selling point for his latest project; if he gets his way, the controversial businessman will be marketing one of the only houses in the country that sits inside a national park.
William ("Bill") Koch, a brother of notorious politically motivated billionaires Charles and David Koch (and recent purchaser of an entire Colorado town), was most recently courted by Chapman to purchase the exclusive national park property. The Denver Post reports Chapman's asking price hovers near $13 million. The deal fell through due to differences in valuation.
Deemed the 'Buzzard of Backcountry' by the Wall Street Journal, Chapman has continued undeterred, pursuing what a recent Outside Magazine article describes as "land swaps, mining patents, and conservation and access easements... [used to] gain leverage by threatening to destroy something priceless, then cut a deal."
The controversial developer who specializes in acquiring and selling property surrounded by protected public land has already built one house in Western Colorado's Black Canyon at the Gunnison National Park, a "luxury estate" called the Casa Barranca.
The Casa Barranca, however, pales in comparison to Chapman's new project, the Casa Barranca II. Unlike his original Black Canyon development, the Casa Barranca II promises to "dominat[e] over the entire 30,000 acre Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park."
Located on top of Signal Hill, the highest point in the entire park, the 25,000 square foot manor (the original Casa Barranca is only 4,754 square feet) will be visible to most of the park's visitors.
Park officials have responded to Chapman's proposal with concern, but they say there's little they can do to stop the development.
"I'm disappointed the county has not installed stricter land use regulations within the park, since any private land is developed under county standards," Curecanti National Recreation Area Management Assistant Dave Roberts told the Telluride Watch.
The county has said it does not plan to enact any specific regulations
Chapman is making no apologies for the development, telling the Watch: "I'm a private property advocate and a capitalist, for which I would never apologize."
WATCH a video of the original Casa Barranca: