Catawba Lands Conservancy

Catawba Lands Conservancy

How to save the world, or just your corner of it.

Being an active member of the Charlotte development community, I have seen firsthand the amount of rural land being turned into developed communities.

Since 1987, over 321,000 acres in the Charlotte area have been developed, and I wanted to ensure that my kids could play in Briar Creek and build forts in nearby woods, much like I did.

As a result, nearly a decade ago, I joined the board of the Catawba Lands Conservancy (“CLC”).

Catawba Lands Conservancy encompasses nine counties and has preserved more than 17,000 acres and 190 properties in the Charlotte region. Water quality and infill-land protection are still crucial to the group, but the mission has grown to include the protection of farmland, wildlife habitats, and making connections between people and nature.

I’ve worked with the CLC to sell land they preserved in the past, and I am talking with them about Riverside Acres.

Riverside Acres is a property perfect for anyone interested in land conservation in the Charlotte region.

I was there last week and spent a beautiful morning on the property and on the Catawba River.

The tract encompasses 650 acres of undeveloped land on Lake Norman, 45 minutes from downtown Charlotte and an easy drive along I-77. There are 625 acres of timberland, pastures, and three ponds. It includes a historic home and barn dating to 1909 and 8/10th of a mile of lake frontage with rights for docks. The vision for the property is a family or group of investors who will purchase the property, build a few small estate homes and trails, and improve the equestrian facilities. The result is a terrific country home close to the city.

The CLC views the property as needing to be protected. A seller would carve out present and future development pads from the conservation easement in the past. Also up for negotiation is the harvesting of timberlands and the development of trails. The property would be appraised for conservation reasons, and if accepted by the CLC, there’d be significant tax credits that could be used for future owners. As for the details of those tax credits, that is tricky tax planning, and buyers would need to consult with tax experts. But overall, the CLC thinks this would be an excellent conservation play.

For examples of entrepreneurs who own land to enjoy and preserve, look to entrepreneur Kris Tompkins, former CEO of Patagonia, Inc. Kris and her late husband, Doug, co-founder of The North Face, were drawn to Chile’s and Argentina’s “haunting soulfulness” and wanted to quicken the pace of biodiversity protection. So they purchased more than 2.2 million acres there. Read about Kris Tompkins and other inspirational entrepreneurs here.

Or media billionaire Ted Turner, who is restoring native ecosystems on his enormous American landholdings. Turner is donating an 80,000-acre ranch in Nebraska to his nonprofit agriculture ecosystem research institute.

If you’d like to know more about Riverside Acres, or if you have land ripe for conservation, call me.

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Sometimes the hardest part turns out to be working with your broker, the person who is supposed to help you through the complexities. Veteran commercial real estate broker and client advisor John Culbertson discovered that brokers’ interests aren’t always aligned with those of their clients. He realized there was a better way to advocate for clients and get the deal done.


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