The Preservation, Privacy and Pleasures of Luxury in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Picture 6,500 contiguous acres of unspoiled bucolic beauty. Rolling hills, mountain trails, dramatic waterfalls, ponds, twenty miles of streams filled with trout, and stunning 360 degree views. Next, imagine this magnificent haven is privately owned by a single buyer to create the ultimate seclusion safe haven compound, or build multiple majestic homeplaces with pastures for livestock, or plan a self-sustaining high-end community surrounded by parkland. With the offering of Falling Waters, these contemplations and possibilities for luxury in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina are en route to becoming a reality.



“There is no place in the eastern United States like Falling Waters,” explains Richard Lewis, who with partner Chopper Grassell are top-producing agents specializing in legacy properties with Compass - Jackson Hole and across Wyoming. Richard continues, “Falling Waters is among the largest privately owned tracts of land in the Carolinas. Its magnitude and abundance of natural resources are unmatched.” Originally owned by the Johnson family, founders of the American Drew furniture company, Falling Waters is the most beautiful portion of their acreage and boasts a rich heritage dating back to Daniel Boone.


The current owner of Falling Waters had been working with Richard and Chopper on the sale of his Jackson Hole property and upon getting a firsthand understanding of the power of Compass’ luxury marketing and agent network, asked them to represent his North Carolina property, too. Chopper shares, “The seller realized if he was serious about selling, working with Compass’ agents and organization was the way to get the job done.” Chopper and Richard are well-versed in selling large tracts of land, especially those unencumbered by conservation easements. “Buyers for these unencumbered properties are not just wealthy but unique. They think about land differently than a typical luxury buyer.”


To embark on the search for these special buyers of luxury in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Richard and Chopper began searching for the perfect connection to luxury in North Carolina. Chopper explains, “While we have enjoyed forty plus years of combined experience selling legacy properties, we’ve only done so out west. This was the perfect opportunity for a transcontinental Compass collaboration, and all sources pointed to Compass - North Carolina’s top-producing Gretchen Coley of The Coley Group.” Richard beams, “Gretchen is connected, dynamic and successful, and she is highly experienced with development and conservation. By coming together to jointly represent Falling Waters, we elevated our value to match the greatness of the property.” Gretchen was honored and thrilled to join the Wyoming agents with this historic offering, and hit the ground running. “Falling Waters is primed and ready for development. With miles of rolling hills with paths and roads which are easily accessible by six state roads and local private jet airports, it could be purchased today and ready to enjoy tomorrow. I have never seen its equal. For an ultra-wealthy buyer who is a passionate conservationist, Falling Waters is it.”


Like Richard and Chopper, Gretchen understands the land’s lack of encumbrance by conservation easements is a key differentiator and delves deeper on the subject. “A conservation easement protects the natural resources of a property by restricting future land use or development in perpetuity. For prospective buyers of luxury in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this allows for use of the property in a multitude of ways while safeguarding the wildlife and natural terrain, along with significant associated conservationist tax benefits. The buyer could develop one, several, or a community of homes while permanently ensuring the surrounding acreage remains unspoiled for personal enjoyment. It would be outstanding to have one’s home surrounded by space to ride horses, bike, hike, fish, trail ride, all with the peace of mind knowing the land will never be further developed.” Chopper similarly illustrates the extraordinary recompense of this sort of land ownership. “The potential development of Falling Waters is akin to the Rockefeller Preserve in Grand Teton National Park. Rockefeller purchased the land in 1927, using it to expand the park while simultaneously retaining a 3,100 acre ranch as a family retreat. Falling Waters lends itself to becoming a similar sort of generational destination.”


With Falling Waters located just a one- to two-hour drive to large metropolitan areas, including the cities of Charlotte, Raleigh/Durham and Greensboro, exactly who purchases the property and how it is ultimately developed or preserved remains unseen. Richard postulates, “It could be a foundation to protect the habitat for fish and wildlife. It could be a significant development project. It could be one special family who donates most of the land. With its privacy, security, accessibility and unspoiled beauty, the possibilities for Falling Waters are limited only by the imagination.” 

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