This week, Ultra Resources confirmed that the company had purchased 18,000 acres of the Banning Lewis Ranch for $20 million. With the sale now complete, the US Bankruptcy Court and the City of Colorado Springs will need to determine whether the city land-use agreements related to the city’s 1988 annexation of the ranch should remain intact.
Confirming the purchase of the ranch, an Ultra spokeswoman said that the company expects to drill for oil and natural gas on the ranch. And it appears that the Banning Lewis deal may be just one part of Ultra’s plans for drilling in the area, as the company paid $1.67 million in July and August to Denver-based Pine Ridge Oil & Gas for leases on nearly 100,000 acres of land in eastern El Paso County and an exploratory well east of Fountain.
According to Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach, the sale of most of Banning Lewis Ranch to Ultra means “there is a real possibility that the Banning Lewis Ranch will not be built into residential and commercial neighborhoods as previously expected.”
In a statement, Colorado Springs City Attorney Chris Melcher said that the city will continue negotiations with Ultra “to reach a satisfactory resolution of the annexation issues, but if that effort is not successful the city intends to seek enforcement of all rights and responsibilities under the agreement in the Colorado bankruptcy court of Colorado state court.”