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Taos ranch goes up for auction, minimum bid $19M

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The 190-acre Blackstone Ranch in Taos is going up for auction with a minimum bid of 19 million. (COURTESY PARAMOUNT REALTY USA)

SANTA FE — A 190-acre ranch just outside Taos is going up for auction, with a minimum bid of $19 million.

The minimum is a 65 percent drop from the original asking price of $55 million for Blackstone Ranch.

Ranch owner Samuel “Pat” Black, a Pennsylvania-based venture capitalist and philanthropist with ties to the biodiesel industry, originally put the 15-building property on the market last summer, according to Misha Haghani of New York-based auction house Paramount Realty USA.

Haghani said Black built the ranch in 2004 and put $45 million into acquiring and developing the property.

The auction’s bidding deadline is Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. To participate, potential buyers must buy due diligence materials and submit a $500,000 deposit.

Haghani said Paramount Realty stepped in to help market the ranch after it didn’t sell at the original asking price. The realty company had a role in the recent sale of President Donald Trump’s childhood home.

Haghani said determining value is difficult with a “unique” property like Blackstone Ranch, with no comparable properties nearby to help determine an asking price. He cited Blackstone’s 15 fairly new structures. These include the 27,000-square-foot main house — with a dining hall that can fit 150 people — a nearly 10,000-square-foot guest house, six barns, a smaller guest house, a greenhouse, and more. The property has 30 bedrooms in all.

Haghani said all this makes the property a good candidate for an auction, which allows the buyers to “tell you what it’s worth.”

“The bottom line is it is worth whatever someone is willing to pay,” he said.

He said he expects potential buyers in two categories: the first are wealthy individuals who may want to own and operate the ranch as a relaxing getaway. The other are operatosr who can utilize the Taos County special permit Black obtained for the land that allows it to be used for certain commercial uses, including as an executive, corporate or wellness retreat site, a center for educational, agricultural or religious purposes, or even a film or music recording studio. He noted while it property can’t be used like a regular hotel — with rooms leased to individuals on a nightly basis — an owner could rent out the rooms to groups. “It does have quite a bit of flexibility,” said Haghani.

Black is also the founder the Blackstone Ranch Institute, a grant-giving organization focused on environmental projects that began in 2006. Though it shares a name, the institute is not based and operates independently from the ranch. The institute will continue to operate, according to director John Richardson. He said there were plans in the early years to be headquartered at Taos County property and operate alongside an eco-friendly ranch, but that it was determined early on that the organization could function and fund projects nationwide without being based there.

On behalf of Black, Haghani said in an email that he was selling the property because “he simply doesn’t have enough opportunity to get down there and use/enjoy the property.”

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