Sale of Fort Lyon Canal lands that were subject to High Plains, A&M speculation ruling nearly complete

Straight line diagram of the Lower Arkansas Valley ditches via Headwaters
Straight line diagram of the Lower Arkansas Valley ditches via Headwaters

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The sale of farms once targeted for buy-and-dry on the Fort Lyon Canal won’t be complete for a month.

Pure Cycle Corp. announced Tuesday that the deadline for due diligence on the sale of 14,600 acres of land for about $53 million will continue until June 18. When the sale was announced in mid-March, a due diligence period of 60-91 days was expected.

Arkansas River Farms LLC, an affiliate of C&A Companies Inc. and Resource Land Holdings LLC, has an agreement to buy the farms from Pure Cycle.

The farms, along with about 23 percent of the shares for water on the Fort Lyon Canal, were originally purchased by High Plains A&M prior to 2003 and sold to Pure Cycle in 2006. High Plains had lost a legal bid to market the water throughout the state when the Colorado Supreme Court ruled its plan violated the antispeculation doctrine of Colorado Water Law.

Lamar pipeline via The Pueblo Chieftain
Lamar pipeline via The Pueblo Chieftain

Pure Cycle announced its intentions to move water to the Front Range when it purchased the Fort Lyon shares. C&A Companies also unveiled a plan to move water from the Lamar Canal to metropolitan communities through its subsidiary GP Resources in 2011. While neither of those plans have advanced, they had not been taken off the table.

Pure Cycle has been leasing the water and ground back to farmers. GP Resources has been raising feed for a Kansas dairy, and there has been talk of building a dairy in Colorado.

Resource Land Holdings has more than $550 million in assets in 25 states and Canada.

“The buyers of our farm portfolio have been working hard surveying, investigating title, ownership, and all customary diligence matters of a transaction of this nature. We have nearly 80 separate properties and as one might expect, diligence on that many properties is time-consuming,” said Mark Harding, Pure Cycle president.

“To date, no material ownership issues have been identified and we do not expect any material title issues to surface through the process.”

Arkansas River Farms has a policy of not speaking with the press at least until the deal is complete, said Karl Nyquist, a partner with C&A, when reached by phone Tuesday.

The deal is scheduled to be closed in August, Harding said.

More Arkansas River Basin coverage here.

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