Moving, Possibly Shaking (Out)


Probably about the time Lynn and I purchased our lot here at Riverwalk, one of the then seven houses already built underwent a change of ownership. The new purchasers were a family of four, three of them unknown to me, the fourth someone I’ve been acquainted with most of her life.

When we were young and living on Tincup Drive, my younger sister Tia’s circle of friends included Karen who lived around the corner. Karen had a little sister named Sarah, and Sarah grew up to become my Riverwalk neighbor.

What makes this better is that Karen and Sarah’s childhood home around the corner from ours was the house I ended up next door to when I bought on Irwin Street and lived there for 27 years. They had moved from that house long before I bought mine, but discovering that Sarah had moved to Riverwalk felt like a continuation of neighborliness.

Sadly, about the time our new house was completed, Sarah told Tia she and her husband were divorcing, and he was staying in the house. It wasn’t sad that he got the house — we still don’t know him very well, but he’s been quite pleasant to us, and he took it upon himself to voluntarily pack down all the Riverwalk trails the rest of us used all snowy winter — but divorce is sad, and not having Sarah in the neighborhood sounded sad too.

The other day I took Oz past our usual turn to continue down Riverwalk Drive to the house now occupied by Dave and sometimes his two daughters, where I learned by virtue of a sign that he will now be moving as well. The house has a Liv Sotheby’s for-sale sign out in front of it.

Which is still sad. Dave has been nothing but nice to us in our brief encounters, and it has been fun to see him and the girls riding their bikes past the house. (We had hoped the girls would come trick-or-treating, but alas.)

Now, if he’s staying in the house until it sells there’s a distinct possibility he may be there awhile, because while curiosity doesn’t work out well for that cat, I still have a large dose of it, so I picked up one of the sale flyers: his house can be yours for a mere $809,000.

I mean, what do I know? That’s probably chump change to some of the people buying property in Crested Butte where they will spend no more than two weeks of each year. It’s an extremely attractive house on the river, and it is in “peaceful Riverwalk Estates,” as the flyer tells you from the get-go.

It probably actually is, at least for now, relatively peaceful down at Dave’s. Some Day there will be private driveways to serve the four lots to the west of him, but the street officially ends just past his house. And no one will build across from him, because it’s open space (translation: swampy wetlands). But construction could start in the next year or two one lot to the east. It’s owned by Jansen Tredway, a Gunnison product looking to cap a successful construction career in downtown San Francisco and return home. His mom told me this summer he thought he was about a year and a half out.

And I hope would-be buyers pay careful attention to the flyer when it touts a
“continuous fishing easement,” although I believe that easement ends just before Jansen’s property. There’s still a very distinct possibility of a county-owned trail being inserted between your lovely, peaceful house and the river.

Poor real estate prognosticator that I am, I’m expecting Dave’s house to be on the market for awhile. That’s about a third over what he and Sarah paid for it perhaps a year and a half ago. Maybe that doesn’t matter to People of Money looking for a tax dump at the end of the year, and Dave will be out by New Year’s.

Perhaps not completely at the other end of the spectrum, but for the moment well below that sort of price, Lynn and I may be getting new neighbors.

It wasn’t that long ago that one of our new neighbors stopped to say hello and in the process mentioned that he thought the lot next to us was going to undergo construction soon. Lynn and I had a small moment of despair: 33-ish empty lots out here; why does the next house need to be built right alongside us?

Shortly after that specter was raised, however, a for-sale sign appeared on the lot, by a firm I’ve never heard of. (I walk past the sign every day — do you think I can remember the company? St. James Sporting Properties?) After I just saw an ad in the local paper for an in-town lot surrounded by other houses and consisting of a fraction of an acre for $126,000, the one-acre lot next to us seems the bargain of the century: yours for $79,000.

Indeed, since the sign went up we’ve seen several cars parked in front of it and people scouting the property from every angle. We may have spotted a serious buyer, because one assumes you must be serious if you’re out early on a Sunday with your parents.

Okay, Lynn and I made a lot of assumptions to get to that point. If we stick to observable facts, we saw an older couple (perhaps our age), a very tall man with long hair and a beard and a not-very-tall woman with blonde hair, walk in along the path that borders our southern boundary. Down by the pond they met a younger couple, him nondescript in a ballcap and hoodie; her with dark hair, both of them nowhere near the tall man’s stratosphere. They must have come in from the west side of our house.

The four of them milled about the pond (which is not a millpond) for a fair amount of time, drinking their coffee and studying the lot as if looking for a place to land a house.

So we surmised, or supposed, or fictionally imagined, that the older couple were parents of one member of the younger, here to vet their choice of a building site. Or maybe the offer’s already under contract and they’re already planning the house. Or maybe the four of them are venture capitalists planning to install a giant party house filled with drunken guests. I’m not much of a real estate prognosticator.

We would selfishly just as soon that no one wanting to build buys the lot, and that it sits there as someone’s investment for the next 20 years. But as Lynn said, if someone has to build, it would nice if it was a young couple, possibly a family. Especially since I have no hope that a working family is going to buy Dave’s house at the end of the street.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s