Developer tries to make a killing off the Black Canyon
Chapman’s latest project is within the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. TDX, the Atlanta-based developer Chapman represents, purchased the 112-acre property for $80,000 in 1998, a year before Congress designated the area a national park. Although the federal government sued for a conservation easement on the property, Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Colo., demanded the parties negotiate instead.
But TDX grew tired of waiting for the Park Service’s appraisal, says Aaron Clay, Chapman’s attorney. In May, the company listed the property on eBay, an Internet auction site, for $1.24 million.
Although the Park Service might have the cash for the property’s first appraised price of $280,000, congressional approval would be needed to pay TDX’s current asking price, says Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Denver, which is handling the negotiations.
According to Chapman’s attorney, Chapman and TDX simply specialize in marketing undervalued holdings. “A lot of people aren’t interested (in inholdings) because you fight the government all the time,” says Clay. “It takes a certain personality to enjoy that type of fighting.”