Breckenridge real estate agent helped to build Disney parks
January 14, 2017
As a land planner, Jack Wolfe has had a hand in molding some of the world's most visited locations.
Wolfe, who is currently a commercial and residential associate broker at Liv Sotheby's, has spent more than 20 years in Colorado. The north Indiana native was first bit by the notorious Colorado bug when he was attending Michigan State for an undergraduate degree in landscape architecture. His older brother had a company here, and Wolfe would spend his summers working for him.
After graduating in 1980, Wolfe officially moved to Colorado and began working on land planning projects. He said that one of his biggest projects was the Arrowhead Ski Area near Vail. He also worked on golf course projects that were some of the first to try to use less water.
Wolfe received a master's in business administration from the University of Denver in 1987. From there, he was hired by Disney's new development company.
"I was like the 30th employee hired," he said.
The new section of the company was based in Orlando, and Wolfe started by helping to develop Downtown Disney.
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Disney brought a touch of real life movie romance into Wolfe's life. On the first day of training he met his wife Wendy, who was also from northern Indiana. Both had been living in Colorado before coming to Disney and left here in the same week for Orlando. Wendy worked as a broadcaster for 9News in Denver, and started doing marketing at Disney.
"I met her on the first day of training, and we got married about 18 months later," he said.
Several years into working with Disney, the company was looking for people to go to France to begin developments on the first parks in Europe. The Wolfes hopped the pond, bringing their golden retriever along, and lived in France for three years.
One of the things that stuck with Jack the most from France was how the people there separate themselves from what they do.
"They put a higher value on what they do outside of work," he said.
Jack helped in the development of the Hotel Disneyland in Paris. The hotel had 500 rooms and six restaurants, combined with its own theme park. Jack said that the language of business while he was working in Europe was still English. Although language was not a barrier, there was still some stress in making sure the project stayed on schedule.
"If any hotel was going to open on time, it was that one," he said.
But the long hours working at Disney, and numerous flights eventually got to Jack and Wendy, who decided to move back to Colorado in 1995. Jack began working as a real estate agent, and Wendy returned to 9News as the vice president of marketing. The couple also decided to expand their family in 1999 by adopting their son, Alex.
"In between all that we forgot to have kids," Jack said.
In the 22 years since the pair moved back to Colorado, Jack has been working in real estate. One of his biggest projects was filling Main Street Station with businesses. He teamed up with Brent Martin, who purchased the property in April 2015 — at the time it only had a 50 percent occupancy rate. Today, all the spaces have been filled, and after years of being pulled back to Colorado, the Wolfes are home.
"After 22 years, I'm almost a native now," he said.
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