Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Green Acres Farm

Going to a pumpkin patch or farm in October is very popular these days. Has it always been this way, or am I just now noticing?

Last year we went to Hill Ridge Farms. This year we decided to go somewhere else, for variety's sake: Green Acres Farm in Cary.

It's a pretty similar type of place, with a play area, farm animals, a hayride, pumpkins for sale, etc. But they also had a corn maze, which we spent about 15 minutes in before Marla wanted out:

Maybe some other year, we'll do the entire corn maze.

We thought last year's Hill Ridge Farms was slightly better overall than this place. Except for no corn maze, Hill Ridge had a little more to do, plus it was in a rural setting. Green Acres Farm is actually right in the middle of the suburban Cary sprawl.

That makes me wonder: why haven't they sold the land? They could probably make a fortune selling their land to a developer - several million, at least. Then, they could buy new land farther out in the country for less, and keep the profits. Zillow values their property - 80 acres - at $7.5 million. Meanwhile, here is an 80 acre "recreational property" in Warren County which just sold for $200,000. What's stopping the owners from pocketing a one time profit of over $7 million?

Well, for one thing...their location is, of course, great for business, much more so than if they moved to a place like Warren County. They charge $10/person, and some of the activities (which we tried to avoid) cost additional money on top of that, so...how much do you think they rake in a given Fall season? $1 million? Maybe not that much, but certainly six figures, right? Move the farm into the country, and it would be but a small fraction of that. But maybe the best location for a place like this to be is the "exurbs": affordable, rural in nature, and close enough to a large metropolitan area to attract large crowds. That's exactly where Hill Ridge Farms is: less than 30 minutes from much of north Raleigh, and the value of their 50-acre property is an affordable $935,000 according to Zillow.

Or, maybe the folks at Green Acres are being patient and waiting for the right time to cash out. I mean, as Cary continues to grow and attract new residents, it's not like the land is going to become less valuable any time soon. In another 20 years, maybe this plot of land will be worth $15 million. At some point they're going to have to sell, right?

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