Published: Feb. 19, 2016

GREA MBA AThe Graduate Real Estate Association (GREA) recently went on their annual trek to a mountain town to learn about real estate and real estate development in Colorado’s mountain towns. This year the GREA went to Crested Butte in southern Colorado to learn about affordable housing and development with Coburn Partners, adaptive reuse of shipping containers with Tassinong Farms and sustainable business practices with Montanya Rum Distillery. In addition to these fantastic learning opportunities the trek also provided the opportunity to have fun with friends new and old, from the 1st and 2nd year of the MBA program and, of course, to ski at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

The first firm we visited with was Coburn Partners. Peter Weber of Coburn Partners showed us two projects that the firm had done in Crested Butte. The first project is an under construction affordable apartment housing development in downtown Crested Butte. As we learned, an acute problem in most mountains towns and, especially so in Crested Butte, is the lack of work force housing. To provide housing for this underserved population Coburn is developing Caddis Flats, a 30 unit housing complex within walking distance of downtown, grocery stores and parks. Following our tour of this site, we visited Pitchfork, a completed 100 unit residential neighborhood in the town of Mt. Crested Butte. In addition to market rate homes in this neighborhood, 30% of the housing is reserved as for affordable for Gunnison County residents.

To learn more about Coburn Partners:

On Saturday we visited both with Montanya Rum Distillery. Montanya Rum Distillery in the heart of historic Crested Butte has all of its power provided through wind energy, the only distillery in the country to do so. The owner, Karen Hoskin, explained to us the challenges and opportunities of owning and operating a small business in a mountain community. Finally, we met with Tassinong Farms who are operating out of refurbished shipping containers. These adaptively reused shipping operating as a hydroponic farm provided leafy greens, herbs, micro-greens and brassicas fresh for the community all year long.

To learn more about Montanya Rum Distillery:

To learn more about Tassinong Farms:

The group was able to ski on Friday and Saturday as well. Skiing one of the premier and unique mountains in Colorado was a great opportunity for the first and second years to get to know each other and have good time learning this gem of a mountain. Crested Butte is a tremendous mountain and town that the students, as new and old Coloradans, get to enjoy year round!