High-flying Big Sky humbled by bankruptcy, lawsuits

Nine-digit loans going into default. While snow has returned to the slopes again, the days of palaces and outdoor chandeliers have not.

Palm Coast, FL – November 8, 2009 – Over hyped, over leveraged luxury second home communities continue to show signs of financial stress. The experiences of Lake Las Vegas, Yellowstone Club, Telluride, are repeated in more and more high-end developments. Yellowstone Club neighbors’ financial problems are featured in a Bozeman Daily Chronicle article.

By DANIEL PERSON Chronicle Staff Writer
November 7, 2009 11:47 PM MST – Big Sky – At Moonlight Basin Tuesday, a solitary set of pre-season ski tracks cut beneath the Pony Express lift.
Snow has come again to Lone Peak, the 11,166-foot pyramidal mountain in the Spanish Peaks towering over three ski resorts and various multi-million-dollar chalets.
The Big Sky area’s future is uncertain amidst the Yellowstone Club bankruptcy and Moonlight Basin’s foreclosure proceedings. Four years ago, furious building and big-spending visitors here pumped $478 million into Southwest Montana’s economy. By comparison, $385 million was spent at Montana State University in the same period.
Those were heady times for the mountain community. Back in 2006, 95 condos and townhouses sold in Big Sky for a combined $47 million, according to the Gallatin Realtors Association. The average price for the homes was $500,000, and they were taking less than three months, on average, to sell.
But as last winter’s snowpack drew back in the spring, more than prairie grass, rock and lost season passes were exposed on the slopes of Lone Peak. Financial duress brought on by nine-digit loans going into default sent feuds into court and onto the public record.
And while snow has returned to the slopes again, the days of palaces and outdoor chandeliers have not.
Toby’s Commentary:  Many developers enjoyed the appellation of visionary. I’ve often described Palm Coast’s own Bobby Ginn as one. "The visionary lies to himself. The liar only to others." – Friedruch Nietzsche – German philosopher (1844 – 1900)
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