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DALLAS-Commercial developer Jackson-Shaw is flexing its muscles and taking on a 2,000-acre residential project dubbed Wilder on the Taylor. This ranch and recreation land near Crested Butte, CO will eventually have a total of 26 homes, all with access to the Taylor River.

Lewis Shaw, the company CEO, acknowledges that Wilder on the Taylor is a different type of development than the mixed-use, primarily commercial real estate projects his company typically oversees. This is more ranch land, as the site is situated around an actual working cattle ranch and the design keeps the western atmosphere. The land itself is surrounded by more than two million acres of national forest land. The goal here is to develop second homes for families. And the development is definitely a labor of love.

“There will be some money at the end of this if we execute well, but this will take a little more time under the present economic circumstances,” Shaw tells GlobeSt.com. The land, he points out, has three principal elements when it comes to good second-home properties. First, it’s near a ski area; second, it’s near an airport and third, it’s near water. Furthermore, “it’s next to Texas and it’s accessible by vehicle from Texas and Oklahoma,” Shaw remarks.

Jackson-Shaw joins other commercial developers that are trying their hand on the residential side. Montecito Cos. of Las Vegas recently unveiled plans to buy and rent single-family homes. Meanwhile, Petrus Partners of New York City, typically an office and industrial asset investor, stocked up on home lots from an auction in Goodyear, AZ.

Unlike these other developers, Jackson-Shaw isn’t a stranger to residential development. Company vice president Ron Welborn tells GlobeSt.com that Jackson-Shaw has developed a retirement enclave in Granbury, TX, about an hour southwest of Fort Worth. “We put our toe in the residential water there, and also have one underway north of Fort Worth,” he remarks. “But this is our first venture into a second home-retirement-recreational type of development where we can offer people an ability to share in what we see as the true American west.”

Shaw acknowledges that developments of this type are nowhere near the core business of Jackson-Shaw. But for him, it’s rewarding emotionally and psychologically. “If you build another 7-Eleven, you pat yourself on the back, but I’m not sure there’s real satisfaction there,” he remarks. “Putting this thing together, though, is going to be something. At the end of the day, you haven’t defiled the land with bunches of rooftops, haven’t polluted the river, but have perpetuated the cowboy culture.”

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