Flash Back 2
I think I have been very clear on my views of fat cat developers. Most of them will promise the moon and stars but they usually just hand out horse hooey. Time just has a way of filtering out the truth.
Back in 2006, developer Mike Ross blew into Loudon with big talk and promises. That's to be expected. What's sad is how quickly and easily elected officials are duped into buying what the developers are shoveling. Sadly many of our officials take the bate over and over. Case in point.
2006, whistles and bells blaring. Developer Mike Ross lands on Loudon with a whopper. A 500 million dollar development, "Rarity Landings will boast upscale homes, approximately 1,000 condominiums, a country club, a wellness center, tennis courts and a golf course" according to Ross.
Later in 2006, Loudon City officials, tongues wagging, eyes bugged out looking for tax dollars, vote, at Ross' request, to annex the development into the city and provide city services. Of course, Loudon County Economic Development Agency President Pat Phillips was leading the way.
Quote, Phillips had only good things to say about the planned development. "I think Mike Ross knows the value of property in Loudon County and he's been extremely successful with Rarity Pointe and Rarity Bay and this testifies how strong this community is. He typically does nice developments. I would expect this would be another of his premier communities."
Is it just me or does it seem that Pat Phillips is on the wrong side of every issue? Anyway.
The moral of the story. Everything that shimmers is not gold. Fortunately this time, unlike Tennessee National, Loudon tax payers didn't get stuck with the bill. The teachable moment? Elected officials should learn from their mistakes.
You don't have to take my word on any of this. Below are the stories that paint the picture.
set for Loudon
Vonore developer Michael Ross is planning another "Rarity" residential development near Loudon. He said this development will be called "Rarity Landings" and will be located off Highway 72 with buildings fronting the Tennessee River.
The projected cost of this project will be approximately $500-million and it will sit on 800 acres of land purchased from Bowater, Inc. Ross reportedly paid $5-million for the land itself.
The proposed Rarity Landings will boast upscale homes, approximately 1,000 condominiums, a country club, a wellness center, tennis courts and a golf course. The complex will be similar to Ross' other developments including Rarity Bay in Vonore, Rarity Ridge in Oak Ridge, Rarity Pointe in Loudon County, Rarity Mountain in Campbell County and Rarity Meadows in Sweetwater Valley. The development of Rarity Pointe drew criticism from Tellico Village residents and from concerned environmentalists.
Ross is upbeat about the new development. "We're excited about it," he said. "We're just in the planning process now. We're excited about the property and excited about the opportunity and look forward to working with the community to make the development a reality."
Regarding the time frame for completing the project Ross said, "It's hard to say but we've already had some preliminary talks with the city about utilities and we're trying to schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss that now and hopefully that will happen pretty quick.
"Once we know that, we can finalize our planning and hopefully get all the approvals we need, and move forward. We would like to be offering home sites over there this fall," he added.
Loudon County Economic Development Agency President Pat Phillips had only good things to say about the planned development. "I think Mike Ross knows the value of property in Loudon County and he's been extremely successful with Rarity Pointe and Rarity Bay and this testifies how strong this community is. He typically does nice developments. I would expect this would be another of his premier communities."
Rarity plan gets initial OK
Loudon City Council unanimously
approved first reading of a newly-considered ordinance Monday to
annex almost 800 acres in the Poplar Springs community, where Rarity
Properties plans to build a gated community.
Still-sluggish economic conditions could result in the necessity for some changes for the city of Loudon - a change in the city's footprint, and a plan for accepting partial payment of property taxes.
considering Notch-in-Hill de-annexation
Auction nets $1.5M for Ross property in Loudon CountyBy Robert Norris thedailytimes.com 10-16-10
The 103-acre Tennessee River Preserve property in Loudon County that Maryville developer Mike Ross had planned to develop as a resort brought almost $1.5 million at auction Saturday.
Alley Auction Inc., of Knoxville, conducted the bidding for the property located off Poplar Springs Road on the Tennessee River about one mile below Fort Loudoun Dam and 4.4 miles distance by road. The auction was held to raise money owed a creditor, GreenBank.
“It went reasonably well. We had a lot of interest,” said Ross, who noted he did not like selling property at auction.
His plan had been to market the acreage as a Rarity Communities upscale residential development with a golf course and other amenities. Instead, he had to sell at auction a portion of 820 acres he purchased from Bowater Inc., the timber company, several years ago.
The auction came as various Rarity properties in varying states of development — or non-development — are involved in lawsuits, countersuits, bankruptcies, unpaid taxes and accusations of mishandling and misrepresentation of finances.
Ross has blamed the poor state of the economy as the cause of the problems.
Bids for the Tennessee River Preserve property totaled $1,491,000, according to Alley Auction. The undeveloped site included 16 parcels, 12 on the waterfront. Most of the land was cleared, except for a strip of trees along the river. “I think people were interested in a bargain,” Ross said. “There was a lot of competition in the bidding.”
Bids were accepted for every parcel, according to Ross. He said he believes most of the buyers were not land speculators but people interested in keeping their purchases. “Most are people who will actually use the property,” Ross said. “It was a pretty diverse group.”
David Alley, of Alley Auction, said on-water tracts went for as high as $28,000 per acre, with parcels off-water going for as much as $7,000 per acre.
“Based on the marketplace, I thought it went really good,” Alley said. “There’s an observation that there’s not a market out there. The reality is that there is a market. Rather than having money in the banks or in 401(k)s, people want to build or to retire or both and are looking for a sound investment.”
Alley said all the buyers were professional people new to the local market and ranged from a professional with the DIY Network to a couple of buyers from New York looking to move to the area. “I think people responded to what we had done. We branded it for people to come in and do what you want,” Alley said.
He said the land sale succeeded in its purpose: to raise capital.
Despite the circumstances of the auction, Ross said he was reasonably satisfied by the outcome. “People were very congenial. The weather was just a nice East Tennessee day,” Ross said, and added. “It is what it is.”