A Serene Sanctuary for Sale: The St. Benedict’s Monastery Property Asks $150,000,000

Stephanie Kroll

In the tranquil Capitol Creek Valley, the historic St. Benedict’s Monastery, covering a sprawling 3,800 acres, has been listed for sale at an asking price of $150 million. Since its establishment in 1956 by the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, this property has served as both a spiritual haven and a working ranch, deeply integrated into the natural beauty of the Roaring Fork basin.

A Legacy of Conservation and Spirituality

The monastery, encompassing over 1,000 irrigated acres for ranching alongside guest cabins and a spiritual center, has long been a beacon of tranquility and stewardship. Its unique location near Aspen and the sheer magnitude of its untouched landscape make it one of the most significant properties in the area. Ken Mirr of Mirr Ranch Group, who holds the listing, emphasizes the property’s pristine condition, preserved since 1956 under the careful management of the monks. “It’s one of the largest, intact properties in that immediate area. It’s just not cluttered with a lot of stuff,” Mirr explains.

The property’s sale is anticipated to draw interest from a specific type of buyer—one who appreciates the constraints of land use and values conservation. This reflects a concerted effort by the local community and Pitkin County to maintain the land’s natural state. "What we’re not looking for is to waste our time with any buyers who have some kind of high-density residential, high-density resort or something like that,” says Mirr, signaling a clear preference for preservation over development.

Community and Conservation Efforts

The future of the monastery has been a focal point for local residents and visitors who value the spiritual and environmental significance of the area. A group known as Friends of the Monastery has been active in advocating for conservation options, reflecting a deep respect for the monastery’s legacy and the decisions of the monks. David Chase, a member of the group, respects the monks' choices: “We respect what they want to do. It doesn’t belong to any of us. Times change and they need to move on.”

Further emphasizing the conservation efforts, Dale Will, acquisitions and projects director for Pitkin County Open Space and Trails, mentions that the monastery is among the “Big Four” ranches in the area targeted for conservation, alongside properties owned by the Child, Harvey, and McBride families. Collectively, these efforts have secured protection for 7,736 acres surrounding the monastery, with hopes to extend this preservation ethos to the monastery property through future conservation easements.

Architectural and Natural Splendor

The property not only offers vast acreages and water rights but is also home to significant architectural structures, including a nearly 19,000 square foot main building. Despite the large scale of some buildings, the local community has imposed strict size caps to ensure the valley’s rustic and unspoiled character remains intact. The natural beauty is unparalleled, with more than 5 miles of creek frontage and panoramic views dominated by peaks like Haystack Mountain and Mount Sopris.

A Respectful Market Approach

As the sale progresses, Mirr is conscious of the community's sentiments and the monastery's longstanding spiritual and environmental significance. His approach to marketing the property focuses on the importance of being a good steward of the land. “You should learn how to step into the shoes of being a good land steward because this is a special place with special values with great neighbors,” he notes.

The listing of St. Benedict’s Monastery marks a pivotal moment in the history of Capitol Creek Valley—a chance to honor the past while carefully shaping the future of this extraordinary place. Whether it will continue as a haven of spiritual renewal or transition into a new phase remains to be seen, but the emphasis on conservation and respect for the land's legacy will undoubtedly guide the process.

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