McMansion Ghost Town: Homes in the former Missouri beach town, which cost a billion dollars, have been abandoned
When it launched with much fanfare in 2006, investors were promised that the new $ 1.6 billion Indian Ridge Resort community in Missouri’s Ozarks region will include a shopping center, a 390-room hotel, and the second largest indoor water park. of the land – and dozens of huge, castle-like mansions.
But 15 years later, the 900-acre development near Table Rock Lake, Missouri, lies largely empty, and abandoned McMansions litter the expansive grounds in several states of disrepair.
The project came to a halt when the 2008 financial crisis hit; loans were not repaid and construction work was halted.
Original lead developer Jim Shirato was fined for violating state clean water laws and five people were convicted and convicted of roles in a real estate fraud by lying to get loans to buy mansions, local news outlet KY 3 reported
The abandoned resort buildings next to Table Rock Lake, east of Branson West, visible from Route 76, have become a source of curiosity for visitors to the region, attracting up to 9 million tourists each year.
And with the onset of the warm season bringing an influx of visitors, the ugly mansions continue their slow decline.
The Indian Ridge Resort Community, near Table Rock Lake in Missouri, collapsed after the 2008 financial crisis. A new development on the same site, called The Ridge at Table Rock Lake, is looking for investors
An unfinished condominium in the abandoned development of Indian Ridge Resort in Branson West, Missouri. The development was plagued with problems and was abandoned during the Great Recession of 2008
The eerie collection of abandoned condominiums near Table Rock Lake is visible from Route 76 in Missouri
Nature has begun to reclaim the abandoned houses, which once had turrets, vast living spaces and bedrooms
It is far from when the development was revealed to the public in 2006.
Then former Missouri Governor Matt Blunt shouted ‘in a megaphone that excavators should start their engines’, KY3 reported
The resort would have a hotel, shops, a conference center, a water park, a museum about the local Native American population, a golf course and a marina, as well as the large apartment buildings used as vacation homes.
The site was also intended for major infrastructure projects in the area, with proposals for major improvements to the highway, healthcare facilities and wastewater treatment plants.
But in August 2008, as banks were teetering on the brink of collapse and the global financial crisis caused credit lines to disappear, federal regulators halted the project, reported the Branson Tri-Lakes News
It was later revealed that five people were involved in a real estate fraud to obtain loans to buy properties in the resort.
In 2017, David Drake, 67, and Donald Snider, 57, both from Colorado, were sentenced to five years in prison for lying to obtain loans to buy and sell mansions on the site as vacation homes.
The pair had been business partners at Western Site Services, which planned to develop the Indian Ridge resort.
They admitted that there was a conspiracy to commit bank fraud and a conspiracy to commit money laundering.
With their smashed windows and broken doors, the McMansions at the failed Indian Ridge Resort have become an eyesore
The castle-like buildings were to become high-end holiday homes, nestled between a huge resort with a gold course, a marina and an indoor water park
But the developers went out of business in 2008 and the Federal Deposit Insurance Company stepped in to buy the site in 2012 for just $ 3.1 million
A real estate fraud scheme where several investors lied to obtain loans to buy houses on the spot was one of the many problems plaguing the project
The current owners of the site are hoping to recruit investors for a new development on the site
The new developers took over the project and in 2018 revealed plans for another development on the same site called The Ridge at Table Rock Lake.
Snider’s wife Heather Gibbs, 54, and Drake’s wife Vickie Hall, were each sentenced to three years of probation for their roles in the plan. A fifth person, James Clarkson, 45, from Arizona, was sentenced to 24 months in prison last August.
It wasn’t the only legal problem the project touched on.
The developers were later convicted of violating state and federal clean water laws after digging soil in Table Rock Lake was washed, and Jim Shirato was forced to pay a $ 125,000 fine.
The U.S. attorney in the Western District of Missouri said in a statement that the failure of Indian Ridge Resort and North Shore Investments to reduce, control, or slow erosion at the construction site continued at least until the end of August 2011.
In 2012, the Federal Deposit Insurance Company stepped in to buy the project for just $ 3.1 million. Three years later, new developers bought the property.
In 2018 they broke ground with a new development called The Ridge at Table Rock Lake.
It’s still grand in design and hopes investors won’t be turned off by the development’s rocky history.
“With 9 million annual visitors to the area, this property is uniquely situated to take advantage of the broad local, regional and national market that plays, operates and lives in Branson, Missouri,” the developers state in marketing materials online.
The Ozarks are a vast, mountainous region that covers large areas of the states of Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.