Serpa purchases 540 acres near Gardnerville Ranchos |

Serpa purchases 540 acres near Gardnerville Ranchos

by Susie Vasquez

Following a dispute with business partners, Carson City developer John Serpa has purchased 540 acres in the Gardnerville Ranchos for $20 million in a court-ordered sale.

District Court Judge Michael Gibbons ruled the partnership should be dissolved pending approval of a settlement agreement on how to dispose of the property in January. An agreement was reached in June.

Serpa joined with four other partners in the business, known as Ranchos LLC, in October 2002. Problems arose when he wanted to sell the land to Syncon Homes, said Marsha Tomerlin, one of the partners in the project.

“Serpa wanted to sell the property to Syncon Homes for $6 million, but he wouldn’t sell it to me,” Tomerlin said. “When we wouldn’t sell the property to Syncon Homes, he took us to court.”

Tomerlin is a Realtor and owner of Coldwell Banker Itildo. Together with John Hamer, Dennis McDuffee and builder Greg Lynn, she acquired the land for $3.7 million in June 2002.

The company, Ranchos LLC, had obtained approval for a 95-unit Skyridge subdivision and wanted to move forward with that project independently, according to court records.

Serpa said there were some disagreements concerning how to develop the property, but declined to comment further. He expects to develop the land sometime in the future, and he would like to put the problems in the past.

Despite the issues, Tomerlin said last week’s sale was a positive outcome, and she has no regrets. She was the last bidder, at $19.9 million, before Serpa submitted his winning bid.

The land, which appraised for $15.5 million earlier this year, is worth the price, she said.

The entire 540 acres was designated a “receiving area,” suitable for development, under Douglas County’s master plan.

“The property has tremendous value,” she said. “It’s the largest piece of vacant receiving area in Douglas County.

“This is a good deal for him and a good deal for us,” she said. “We’re very happy.”

Tomerlin said it’s also a good deal for Douglas County because it will bring development into a receiving area that won’t impinge on agricultural land.

The property is west of the Dresslerville Indian Colony and east and south of the existing Ranchos development.

“There will be a lot of building in an area that should be developed,” Tomerlin said.

An additional road, from Highway 395 to State Route 88, will be built to accommodate the development. It should also alleviate traffic problems, Tomerlin said.

Single-family homes dominate the area, but commercial projects could also be part of a development mix.