World News

Inside the $1.6bn ghost town abandoned in 2008 – before anyone moved in

The Ozarks region of Missouri was set to become home to a prosperous town featuring a shopping mall, a 390-room hotel, the country's second-largest indoor water park – and dozens of castle-like townhouses.

But the $1.6bn investment went to waste as the town remains uninhabited almost 15 years later.

The Indian Ridge Resort was hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis hit; resulting in defaulted loans and a halt in the construction work.

The project also became embroiled in scandal as lead developer Jim Shirato was fined £125k for violating state clean water laws.

Five people were convicted and sentenced for their roles in a real estate fraud scheme by lying to get loans to buy townhouses, KY 3 reported.

Now, the abandoned buildings next to Table Rock Lake, visible from Route 76, are a source of curiosity for passersby and attracts up to attracts around 9 million tourists each year.

The slowly decaying mansions are a far cry from the plans unveiled to the public in 2006 when former Missouri governor Matt Blunt 'yelled into a bullhorn for excavators to start their engines.'

  • Prince Harry's LA life 'a search for relevance' as he struggles 'to keep up with' Meghan

In 2017, almost a decade after developments stopped, David Drake, 67, and Donald Snider, 57, from Colorado, were sentenced to five years in prison for lying to get loans with the intent of purchasing townhouses at the site and sell them as vacation homes.

The pair had been business partners at Western Site Services, the firm which was heading up the Indian Ridge resort project.

The pair admitted one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

  • UK Weather: Mini heatwave at scorching 24C to warm up Brits after lockdown rules ease

The conspirator's wives, Heather Gibbs, 54, and Vickie Hall, were each sentenced to three years probation for their roles in the scheme along with the fifth person, James Clarkson, 45, of Arizona, who received a 24-month jail sentence for his role in the scheme.

In 2012, the development was purchased by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company for just $3.1m, before being sold on to new developers three years later.

In 2018, work on the new development called The Ridge at Table Rock Lake began and the companies are still hoping investors won't be turned off by the rocky history of the project.

Source: Read Full Article