Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Rancho Hidalgo

  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
307 replies to this topic

#1 Madhup Rathi

Madhup Rathi

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 47
  • Joined: 18 Oct 2011

Posted 22 January 2015 - 12:23 AM

I am seriously considering setting up an observatory at Rancho Hidalgo, NM. I spoke to couple of existing observatory lessees and they had very good things to say about Gene Turner, the owner. Does anyone have reasons to dissuade me from pursuing this idea further?

 

Thanks,


 

#2 Dan Crowson

Dan Crowson

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 3,100
  • Joined: 08 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Dardenne Prairie, MO

Posted 23 January 2015 - 11:13 AM

Madhup,

 

I'm in the process of having an observatory built there. I'll let you know how it goes. I think it is about 50% complete.

 

In researching, I found everyone fairly happy at Rancho.

Dan


 

#3 GJJim

GJJim

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,024
  • Joined: 09 Sep 2006
  • Loc: más y menos

Posted 23 January 2015 - 01:28 PM

I am seriously considering setting up an observatory at Rancho Hidalgo, NM. I spoke to couple of existing observatory lessees and they had very good things to say about Gene Turner, the owner. Does anyone have reasons to dissuade me from pursuing this idea further?

 

Thanks,

You've been down there and seen it firsthand, correct?


 

#4 Madhup Rathi

Madhup Rathi

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 47
  • Joined: 18 Oct 2011

Posted 23 January 2015 - 01:45 PM

Jim - No, I haven't been there. That's why I am checking out from fellow imagers.

 

Madhup


 

#5 GJJim

GJJim

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,024
  • Joined: 09 Sep 2006
  • Loc: más y menos

Posted 23 January 2015 - 03:09 PM

Jim - No, I haven't been there. That's why I am checking out from fellow imagers.

 

Madhup

The concept sounds attractive and the skies are indeed dark (SQM 21.9 when I was there in 2010). I would recommend due diligence and a visit to see if it meets your needs and expectations.


 

#6 SteveGR

SteveGR

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,066
  • Joined: 04 May 2013
  • Loc: Western Michigan

Posted 23 January 2015 - 04:20 PM

Madhup,

 

I'm in the process of having an observatory built there. I'll let you know how it goes. I think it is about 50% complete.

 

In researching, I found everyone fairly happy at Rancho.

Dan

 

If you don't mind me asking, what will your setup be down there?  I'd really like to have a remote site in the Southwest somewhere.  I'm kind of stuck living in Michigan, but we have so many darn clouds here.


 

#7 JMW

JMW

    Aurora

  • -----
  • Posts: 4,577
  • Joined: 11 Feb 2007
  • Loc: Nevada

Posted 23 January 2015 - 07:49 PM

I was wondering how the economics of renting time at a remote observatory using someone else's gear compares to buying, building, equipping and maintaining a remote observatory of your own. Seem like you could rent a lot of hours  before you would spend as much as doing your own site. I get the observatory idea if you can actually get to it and use it regularly in person.


 

#8 GJJim

GJJim

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,024
  • Joined: 09 Sep 2006
  • Loc: más y menos

Posted 23 January 2015 - 09:00 PM

I was wondering how the economics of renting time at a remote observatory using someone else's gear compares to buying, building, equipping and maintaining a remote observatory of your own. Seem like you could rent a lot of hours  before you would spend as much as doing your own site. I get the observatory idea if you can actually get to it and use it regularly in person.

A lot of the time-share scopes have come and gone over the years and several were/are down in the boot heel area of NM. It's obviously less expensive to rent time rather than setting up a personal remote system, but for various reasons people still prefer to roll their own. As you suggest, many people want to live near the observatory they built and make it a retirement goal. That seems to be the group most attracted to Arizona Sky Village and Rancho Hidalgo. Someone once asked me what I thought of the lifestyle at ASV and I said it looked like a place where old white guys go to die.  :grin:

 

Rancho Hidalgo is a development that consists of residential lots in one area and a separate plot where the observatories are sited. IIRC it's not possible to own an observatory at RH without buying one of the residential lots. There were a few houses down there in 2010, but mostly vacant lots. This is different from the arrangement at Arizona Sky Village where the homes and observatories are typically built on the same lot. A separate development nearby, Granite Gap, offers 99-year leases for 1/3-acre observatory sites. At GG it's possible to set up an observatory without owning any property.


 

#9 EricCCD

EricCCD

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,726
  • Joined: 14 Apr 2004

Posted 23 January 2015 - 09:35 PM

I am one of the "existing observatory lessees" that Madhup talked to. We've had our observatory up and running at RH since 2010. We're also a lot owner - we bought the land for our retirement, *then* found out about the remote observatories. Feel free to PM me with questions about RH.

 

>>IIRC it's not possible to own an observatory at RH without buying one of the residential lots.

 

Not really - people like Madhup can build an observatory at the observatory site without buying land.

 

The lease model at RH is different from other sites such as New Mexico Skies: support is present but limited to ensuring the roofs operate and address minor issues like cable snags, retightening loosened items, plugging/unplugging cords, etc. Any equipment configuration and major troubleshooting is usually the responsibility of the lessee. Though the lessees have formed a mutual support group as well, in terms of whoever is visiting can help others with minor issues.

 

The skies are definitely worth it:

http://www.skiesbyaf...es/NGC2403.html

http://www.skiesbyaf...laxies/M31.html

http://www.skiesbyaf...ies/M81-82.html

http://www.skiesbyaf...licanHaRGB.html

http://www.skiesbyaf...lae/vdB141.html

 

The Greenwich Observatory has an annual Astronomy Photographer of the Year event, and for 2014 one of the observatory owners won the Robotic Scope category:

http://www.rmg.co.uk...ar/2014-winners

 

HTH,

Eric


 

#10 Madhup Rathi

Madhup Rathi

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 47
  • Joined: 18 Oct 2011

Posted 24 January 2015 - 10:31 AM

Yes - Eric and another existing Lessee gave me very good reviews. Since there was a lot of noise around granite gap, I am being a little careful - that's why this question. But, really, based on what Eric has said about Rancho Hidalgo, I am going ahead with them. 


 

#11 Dan Crowson

Dan Crowson

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 3,100
  • Joined: 08 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Dardenne Prairie, MO

Posted 24 January 2015 - 06:25 PM

 

I was wondering how the economics of renting time at a remote observatory using someone else's gear compares to buying, building, equipping and maintaining a remote observatory of your own. Seem like you could rent a lot of hours  before you would spend as much as doing your own site. I get the observatory idea if you can actually get to it and use it regularly in person.

A lot of the time-share scopes have come and gone over the years and several were/are down in the boot heel area of NM. It's obviously less expensive to rent time rather than setting up a personal remote system, but for various reasons people still prefer to roll their own. As you suggest, many people want to live near the observatory they built and make it a retirement goal. That seems to be the group most attracted to Arizona Sky Village and Rancho Hidalgo. Someone once asked me what I thought of the lifestyle at ASV and I said it looked like a place where old white guys go to die.  :grin:

 

Rancho Hidalgo is a development that consists of residential lots in one area and a separate plot where the observatories are sited. IIRC it's not possible to own an observatory at RH without buying one of the residential lots. There were a few houses down there in 2010, but mostly vacant lots. This is different from the arrangement at Arizona Sky Village where the homes and observatories are typically built on the same lot. A separate development nearby, Granite Gap, offers 99-year leases for 1/3-acre observatory sites. At GG it's possible to set up an observatory without owning any property.

 

Rancho Hidalgo is a bit different than you describe now. I don't think the residential development ever happened (or at least I didn't see it when I stopped by in October). All it takes to get an observatory at Rancho now is to buy a lease (20 years, renewable) and have the observatory built.

 

I did check out Granite Gap but it still seems to be in the early stages of development. There's no power, etc.

 

Dan


 

#12 GJJim

GJJim

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,024
  • Joined: 09 Sep 2006
  • Loc: más y menos

Posted 24 January 2015 - 10:03 PM

Rancho Hidalgo is a bit different than you describe now. I don't think the residential development ever happened (or at least I didn't see it when I stopped by in October). All it takes to get an observatory at Rancho now is to buy a lease (20 years, renewable) and have the observatory built.

 

 

 

I did check out Granite Gap but it still seems to be in the early stages of development. There's no power, etc.

 

Dan

 

Interesting, it was a few years ago, but I remember Loy telling me that most of the residential lots at RH were sold. We took pictures of a house under construction that looked nearly complete and a work crew was pouring the foundation for another nearby. There was also a nearly complete building with condos that were going to be sold on a time share basis. 

Attached Thumbnails

  • image.jpg
  • image.jpg
  • image.jpg

 

#13 Dan Crowson

Dan Crowson

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 3,100
  • Joined: 08 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Dardenne Prairie, MO

Posted 25 January 2015 - 11:26 PM

Those condos still look the same. I'm not sure that they're complete / finished.


 

#14 GJJim

GJJim

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,024
  • Joined: 09 Sep 2006
  • Loc: más y menos

Posted 26 January 2015 - 09:21 AM

Those condos still look the same. I'm not sure that they're complete / finished.

Those pictures are from 2010-2011. If the houses and condos are empty, where do the RH observatory owners live? Are they camping, running the obsys remotely?


 

#15 EricCCD

EricCCD

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,726
  • Joined: 14 Apr 2004

Posted 26 January 2015 - 02:06 PM

 

Those pictures are from 2010-2011. If the houses and condos are empty, where do the RH observatory owners live? Are they camping, running the obsys remotely?

 

The RH observatories are all operated remotely. When we visit, accommodations are provided for us by Gene and Loy, and we can operate the observatories either on site or remotely.


 

#16 EricCCD

EricCCD

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,726
  • Joined: 14 Apr 2004

Posted 26 January 2015 - 02:09 PM

BTW, of GJJim's pictures, the one showing a handpainted "Observatories" sign is actually at Granite Gap. The condos are on the same lot as the observatories and the RH headquarters. The house under construction is on an owner lot on the actual subdivision, immediately east of the RH headquarters.


 

#17 Madhup Rathi

Madhup Rathi

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 47
  • Joined: 18 Oct 2011

Posted 28 January 2015 - 02:44 PM

I have heard only good things about Rancho Hidalgo from multiple current Lessees like Eric. I have signed the contract with them and will start the construction in June and I will move my set up to RH in October 2015. This is going to be a 16x12 ft roll off roof observatory.


 

#18 AstroPsych

AstroPsych

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 1
  • Joined: 09 May 2014

Posted 19 June 2015 - 03:59 PM

Madhup

 

How's the progress.  I am considering doing the same.

 

Matthew


 

#19 DeanS

DeanS

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,712
  • Joined: 12 Jul 2005
  • Loc: Central Kentucky

Posted 24 June 2015 - 11:01 AM

When something sounds too good to be true....................................That is what I have thought since day one. 

 

Sure would love to get in on something like this but I can't see how he would make enough money to actually pull it off.  Perhaps if it would have started out at 2x the cost he might have had more capital to get more done.


 

#20 Mr. Bill

Mr. Bill

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9,823
  • Joined: 09 Feb 2005
  • Loc: Northeastern Cal

Posted 08 August 2015 - 09:24 AM

Well Gene, got my fingers crossed that I'll be able to use my 99 year lease at GG before it expires (or I do.)

 

Still waiting for my promised RV site, 3 years later and $2500 lighter...... :p

 

A lot of this is my fault; I let enthusiasm in the project get the better of due diligence...

 

No way could this work based on the business model without huge infusions of cash from other investors.


Edited by Mr. Bill, 08 August 2015 - 03:41 PM.

 

#21 Starhawk

Starhawk

    Space Ranger

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,569
  • Joined: 16 Sep 2008
  • Loc: Tucson, Arizona

Posted 24 August 2015 - 09:13 AM

The lease part is what I have trouble with. You're improving someone else's rental property at the end of the day.  If that's the deal, you should just look at a map for an area you like, and just buy a small parcel of land.  Rural land out here is REALLY cheap.  Hit Zillow and surf around southern Arizona and southern New Mexico. 

 

-Rich


 

#22 Mr. Bill

Mr. Bill

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9,823
  • Joined: 09 Feb 2005
  • Loc: Northeastern Cal

Posted 24 August 2015 - 09:59 AM

It's not that you couldn't do this  on your own with sufficient resources, but what was promised was a astronomy community.

 

My skies here in NE California/ Nevada are just as dark; I was hoping for vacation opportunities with like-minded folks.

 

:undecided:


 

#23 Madhup Rathi

Madhup Rathi

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 47
  • Joined: 18 Oct 2011

Posted 24 August 2015 - 10:16 AM

The lease part is what I have trouble with. You're improving someone else's rental property at the end of the day.  If that's the deal, you should just look at a map for an area you like, and just buy a small parcel of land.  Rural land out here is REALLY cheap.  Hit Zillow and surf around southern Arizona and southern New Mexico. 

 

-Rich

 

It's not as simple as buying a piece of land. You need reliable power and internet and you need someone else to be on the property for security. And you need a group of people to help others when minor issues occur.


 

#24 DuncanM

DuncanM

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,598
  • Joined: 03 Nov 2009
  • Loc: Arizona Sky Village or the rain forest

Posted 24 August 2015 - 05:34 PM

The lease part is what I have trouble with. You're improving someone else's rental property at the end of the day.  If that's the deal, you should just look at a map for an area you like, and just buy a small parcel of land.  Rural land out here is REALLY cheap.  Hit Zillow and surf around southern Arizona and southern New Mexico. 

 

-Rich

The last time I looked the leases were for 99 years.


 

#25 Mr. Bill

Mr. Bill

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9,823
  • Joined: 09 Feb 2005
  • Loc: Northeastern Cal

Posted 24 August 2015 - 10:29 PM

 

The lease part is what I have trouble with. You're improving someone else's rental property at the end of the day.  If that's the deal, you should just look at a map for an area you like, and just buy a small parcel of land.  Rural land out here is REALLY cheap.  Hit Zillow and surf around southern Arizona and southern New Mexico. 

 

-Rich

The last time I looked the leases were for 99 years.

 

 

My understanding is that ownership of the GG property is in question......


 


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics