On a sunny Friday afternoon in Telluride, Todd Conklin sat alone in a crowded meeting room at The Peaks Resort and Spa. From the window, the shimmery gunmetal peaks of the San Juan mountain range and bright azure sky stood in contrast to the nervous energy that filled the room. Twelve real estate agents from Nevasca Realty pelted him with questions, each one more pointed than the next. Will the contract be updated to address our concerns? And what about the handbook? The CEO of Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties addressed each question with methodical calm.
“It was like the grand inquisition,” laughs Erik Fallenius, founder and CEO of Nevasca Realty. “But everyone walked away from that session feeling very optimistic about our decision to align with Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties and the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury® platform. We retained 100% of our agents. No one was going anywhere.”
For Conklin, a 16-year real estate veteran, it was another success to add to the history book for Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties. Conklin, CFO Shannon Conklin and COO Theresa Pemberton have been building their resort market empire one company at a time, expanding their dominance in Sun Valley, Vail and Steamboat Springs to include markets like Telluride. Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties has grown in excess of 30% per year; 2018 is no exception, with 34.5% growth projected this year. The acquisition of Nevasca Realty, with its long-term presence in Telluride, presented a prime opportunity to not only grow the reach of Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties, but to also bring the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury program to a previously untapped high-end resort market.
“So often in resort markets, they suffer because they are not large enough to have the support team that a national company might have,” explains Conklin. “The real estate offerings are so high-end that you can’t really use traditional marketing methods, so you have to understand the global luxury marketing component. We understand that piece of the luxury marketing puzzle, and can bring that strength to the table. Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties has offices from Sun Valley to Bozeman, and we offer the power of a global marketing platform and a worldwide network of experts, allowing us to check the boxes on both. We can support our brokers with tools and resources that they wouldn’t be able to get from our competitors.”
Alongside Conklin that Friday in Telluride was Craig Hogan, vice president of luxury for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. He had spent the last week with Conklin, initiating all of the top real estate professionals from Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties into the Global Luxury program. They had started their tour in Sun Valley on Tuesday with a mid-day luxury launch presentation followed by a cocktail reception at the Limelight Hotel. On Wednesday, they boarded a single-prop plane (with Conklin in the pilot’s seat) at 7am for Grand Junction, where they met with agents and staff at one of the broker’s fastest growing offices.
On Thursday morning, they did it all again — this time, hitting both Steamboat Springs and Vail, where Conklin and Hogan delivered two highly praised presentations to packed houses at the Westin Resort and Spa Avon and Catamount Ranch & Club. Despite visiting some of the most awe-inspiring ski towns in America, Hogan found himself particularly enamored by the panoramas in Telluride. The views at The Peaks Resort and Spa were “some of the most spectacular” he’d ever seen. It was the crowning stroke to a whirlwind week.
“By the time I finished with my presentation, the Nevasca brokers were reassured that we would be embracing them with all of the marketing might of the Global Luxury program,” says Hogan. “From print to digital, we have them covered.”
Fallenius was thrilled. He had always felt that Nevasca — a company he started in 1985 — was too small to be big and too big to be small.
“In a market like this, independent brokers can be squeezed by bigger real estate brands,” he says. “I always felt that I needed more strength behind what I was doing. Todd’s platform is excellent, and provides the back office support, superb training, file management and marketing, while maintaining a local and human scale. He made it so user-friendly for us. On the flip side, what we offer Todd is a great entry platform for him to grow his company in this community. The Coldwell Banker Global Luxury logo will fit right in here. Between all of us, we have over 200 years of independent brokerage experience. We’ve been at it a while and we know the community. We will be supportive of growing this superb business. “
Adds Conklin: “As we looked at the companies in Telluride, Nevasca had the best reputation, location and most seasoned professional brokers, and we determined it was the best fit. They understand luxury and they understand the power of our brand.”
No doubt, Conklin seized on an opportunity to cross-market to affluent clients who may be searching for their second, third, fourth or fifth homes. The acquisition of Nevasca now makes it possible to connect these discriminating clients to experienced local agents not only in Telluride, but in other ski resort marketplaces. There are obvious similarities between Vail, Sun Valley, Steamboat Springs, Big Sky and Telluride. They all offer world-class hotels and restaurants, plenty of summertime activities and sought-after skiing. But there are also differences. Each of the five major ski towns have their own distinct character and energy, which most likely can be traced back to their histories. Telluride is a former Victorian silver and rock mining town, offering a remote, rugged, yet stunningly beautiful setting with non-stop summertime activities. Steamboat Springs, considered to be one of the most authentic western ski towns in Colorado, boasts a rich agricultural history and a ski resort that is set within the town. Vail, nestled in the rugged Gore Range, was a famous summer hunting ground prior to becoming a popular ski destination. These historic and geographic distinctions naturally attract a wide range of buyers.
“The feeder markets are very different,” says Fallenius. “Telluride, with its destination location, draws from East Coast to West, with Texas, Arizona, Chicago and New York as primary markets. Vail can attract buyers from Colorado, but also the East Coast, Texas, Florida and Mexico, Central America. Two of the main feeder markets for Telluride are Colorado and Texas, since there are direct flights offered from Denver and Dallas, so people can avoid the traffic on the roads, and we see a lot of buyers from other major metropolitan areas coming here.”
In Telluride and the Mountain Village, homes range from $2 million to $20 million. New condominiums will range from $1,000 to $2,000 per square foot. Since the town of Telluride was a Victorian mining community, many of the properties reflect that time period. In contrast, the Mountain Village was established in 1987 and is more contemporary.
“The town is a national historic landmark, so the architecture in the community is protected,” says Fallenius. “A typical client here might be in their early and mid 40s with kids, possibly from Chicago, New York, Houston or Dallas, and are very successful and looking for a second home. Their tastes are going towards a more modern look with cleaner lines,” says Fallenius. In the Mountain Village, the housing product tends to be older, although new housing product is again starting to crop up. “The older product has to be priced attractively,” notes Fallenius. “Demand for the latest materials and finishes is high. Buyers tend to want newer product here compared to what they live in at home. They come to Telluride and they reward themselves for their successes. They can realize their dreams in a second home.”
Fallenius is already testing the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury marketing platform on two listings: a $1.85 million condo and a $9 million estate. “Both are beautiful properties,” he says. “They should get some good exposure. I’m very optimistic. The program gives me an opportunity to do so much more with my presentation. All of our brokers are excited about getting Global Luxury certified and becoming more involved with the brand.”