An undeveloped piece of property in the Animas Valley owned by the U.S. Forest Service sold for nearly $1.7 million this week – money that will be used to fund a new office in Bayfield.
Bidding opened in June for the 20-acre property, about 8 miles north of Durango at 373 Trimble Lane, behind the Trimble True Value hardware store.
The online auction closed Tuesday, with the high bid coming in at $1,690,000.
A spokesman with the General Services Administration, which facilitated the sale, said the name of the buyer can be released once the sale is finalized and the property has been deeded. That process can take up to 30 days to complete.
The website where the online auction was held does not include the name of who won the property. A representative with the La Plata County Assessor’s Office said documentation of the sale had not yet arrived to the office.
The parcel in question is a long-vacant horse pasture with a few structures on it, surrounded by luxury subdivisions.
The Forest Service a few years ago announced its intent to sell the property, saying the agency no longer has a use for it.
Patrick McCoy with the Forest Service said previously the agency intended to use the “Forest Service Facility Realignment and Enhancement Act” of 2005, which allows local districts to take proceeds from holdings identified as excess to use for the acquisition, maintenance and construction of new sites.
“We think proceeds could be used for possibly acquiring new property and building new offices near Bayfield to replace the existing compound,” he said.
Mark Lambert with the Forest Service confirmed in June to La Plata County commissioners that the money would be used for the Bayfield offices.
The federally exempt property hadn’t been appraised for years, so it was a bit of a guessing game how much the parcel would sell for, La Plata County Assessor Carrie Woodson said previously.
Woodson was out of the office Friday but had previously provided land sales on adjacent properties in the area: Trimble Crossing paid $5.5 million in 2007 for 4 acres on the corner of Trimble Lane, and next to that, another vacant piece of land sold in 2008 for $1.4 million.
A public comment period on the proposed sale generated few opinions, save for one or two neighbors concerned with density and traffic. The Forest Service responded by saying those factors would be handled by La Plata County during the permitting process.