Purchase photos

Auction ends, ranch for sale at $15M

10/10/2012

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

For all practical purposes, the lingering auction of Pyramid Ranch in southwest Gove County is over, and the land has been listed just as any home might be.

And the owners have put a $15 million price tag on the 12,900-acre ranch, replete with Monument Rocks, designated a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service and one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas.

A still-unidentified individual submitted a high bid of $8.5 million while the ranch was on the auction block, according to Mark Faulkner, whose Ulysses-based Faulkner Real Estate handled the auction and now is handling the listing.

Shareholders owning the ranch finally met and decided the $8.5 million bid offered at the conclusion of the auction simply wasn't enough. That's more than double the starting bid of $4 million, however.

"They countered that with $15 million," Faulkner said of the shareholders' response to the bid.

Faulkner said he thinks the high bidder is willing to pay more for the ranch, but how much more remains uncertain.

"He's still interested," Faulkner said. "He was willing to pay more, but not that $15 million. We're still negotiating."

Faulkner said the prospective buyer still didn't want to be identified. He's already said access to the rocks would remain, if he's able to buy the ranch.

With the close of the auction, the land went on sale through private treaty.

"It's on the market at $15 million," Faulkner said.

The sale of the Pyramid Ranch -- so named because Monument Rocks are known locally as the Pyramids -- has been a closely watched affair, drawing thousands of people to the Gove County site to photograph.

Part of that pilgrimage is out of fear the site, once it's sold, no longer will remain accessible to the public.

There is, however, a main county road dissecting the site.

Already, there's been obviously untrue reports of the land being sold and closed to the public. A recent online posting suggested the asking price for the ranch now had reached $100 million.

Faulkner knows otherwise.

At $15 million, the per-acre price would be nearly $1,162; the $8.5 million bid was right at $659 an acre.

Because mineral rights go with most of the land, it's difficult to tell what a good price might be, Faulkner said.

There have been smaller sales in the area with land going for more than $1,000 an acre, but a nearby ranch selling two years ago sold for approximately $500 an acre.

For Faulkner, it's going to be a losing proposition if the ranch doesn't sell.

"I get zero until it sells," he said Tuesday.