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McMansion Ghost Town: Homes in former billion-dollar Missouri resort town have been left abandoned

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When it was launched to great fanfare in 2006, investors were promised the new $1.6 billion Indian Ridge Resort Community in the Ozarks region of Missouri would feature a shopping mall, a 390-room hotel and the country’s second-largest indoor water park – and dozens of enormous, castle-like townhouses.

But 15 years later, the 900-acre development near Table Rock Lake, Missouri, lies mostly empty, and abandoned McMansions litter the vast site in varying states of disrepair. 

The project foundered as the 2008 financial crisis hit; loans were defaulted on, and construction work came to a halt.  

The original lead developer Jim Shirato was fined for violating state clean water laws and five people were convicted and sentenced for their roles in a real estate fraud scheme by lying to get loans to buy townhouses, 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, which attracts up to 9 million tourists each year. 

And now as the start of the warm season brings an influx of visitors, the unsightly mansions are continuing their slow decay. 

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 seeking investors

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 seeking investors

An unfinished condominium at the abandoned Indian Ridge Resort development at Branson West, Missouri. The development was plagued with problems and abandoned during the Great Recession of 2008

An unfinished condominium at the abandoned Indian Ridge Resort development at Branson West, Missouri. The development was plagued with problems and abandoned during the Great Recession of 2008

The eerie collection of abandoned condominiums near Table Rock Lake are visible from Route 76 in Missouri

The eerie collection of abandoned condominiums near Table Rock Lake are visible from Route 76 in Missouri

Nature has started to reclaim the abandoned homes, which once featured turrets, enormous living areas and bedrooms

Nature has started to reclaim the abandoned homes, which once featured turrets, enormous living areas and bedrooms

It’s a far cry from when the development was unveiled to the public back in 2006.

Then, former Missouri governor Matt Blunt ‘yelled into a bullhorn for excavators to start their engines’, KY3 reported.

The resort was to feature 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 condominiums, which were earmarked as vacation homes.

The site was also meant to feature large infrastructure projects in the area, with major highway improvements, healthcare facilities and wastewater treatment facilities proposed.

But in August 2008, as banks teetered on the edge of collapse and the global financial crisis caused credit lines to vanish, federal regulators shut down the project, the Branson Tri-Lakes News reported.

It would later emerge that five people were involved in a real estate fraud to secure loans to purchase properties at the resort.

In 2017, David Drake, 67, and Donald Snider, 57, both of Colorado, were sentenced to five years prison for lying to get loans to buy townhouses at the site and sell them as vacation homes.

The pair had been business partners at Western Site Services, which set out to develop the Indian Ridge resort. 

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

With their smashed windows and busted doors, the McMansions at the failed Indian Ridge Resort have become an eyesore

With their smashed windows and busted doors, the McMansions at the failed Indian Ridge Resort have become an eyesore 

The castle-like structures were supposed to become high-end vacation homes, nestled amongst a huge resort with a gold course, marina and indoor water park

The castle-like structures were supposed to become high-end vacation homes, nestled amongst a huge resort with a gold course, marina and indoor water park

But the developers went bust in 2008, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Company stepped in to purchase the site in 2012 for just $3.1m

But the developers went bust in 2008, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Company stepped in to purchase the site in 2012 for just $3.1m

A real estate fraud scheme where several investors lied to secure loans to purchase homes at the site was one of several problems to plague the project

A real estate fraud scheme where several investors lied to secure loans to purchase homes at the site was one of several problems to plague the project

The site's current owners are hoping to secure investors to a new development on the site

The site’s current owners are hoping to secure investors to a new development on the site

The new developers took over the project and in 2018 unveiled plans for a different development at the same site called The Ridge at Table Rock Lake

The new developers took over the project and in 2018 unveiled plans for a different development at 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 probation for their roles in the scheme. A fifth person, James Clarkson, 45, of Arizona, last August received a 24-month prison sentence.

It wasn’t the only legal trouble the project fell into. 

The developers were later convicted of violating state and federal clean water laws after excavated soil washed into Table Rock Lake, and Jim Shirato was forced to pay a $125,000 fine. 

The U.S. Attorney in Missouri’s Western District said in a statement that the failure of Indian Ridge Resort and North Shore Investments to abate, control or slow the erosion from the construction site persisted through at least the end of August 2011.

In 2012, the Federal Deposit Insurance Company stepped in to purchase the development for just $3.1m. New developers bought the property three years later.

In 2018, they broke ground on the new development called The Ridge at Table Rock Lake.

Still grand in scope, it is hoping investors won’t be turned off by the development’s rocky history.

‘With 9 million visitors annually to the area, this property is uniquely situated to benefit from the broad local, regional, and national market that plays, works, and lives in Branson, Missouri,’ the developers state in marketing material online.

The Ozarks are a sprawling, mountainous region which covers large parts of the states of Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

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Barings and HBD secure planning for London logistics scheme (GB)

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Barings and HBD have secured detailed planning for a strategic logistics scheme in Rainham, London, transforming a 20-acre brownfield site. The new development, Momentum London, is being delivered by Barings and HBD in a joint venture partnership. It will create 381,814ft² of new logistics and industrial space across four units ranging from 41,000 -171,000ft².

 

The scheme will target Net Zero Carbon, BREEAM “Excellent” and an EPC “A+” rating. This is being achieved by dynamic design, careful consideration of materials, zero use of fossil fuels, maximizing photovoltaic solar panels, battery storage and intelligent building systems. The units will be 100% EV ready, including passive fleet charging to the yards.

 

The logistics park will be set in landscaped environment with picnic and public areas, as well as direct access onto the Thames Cycle Path, so that it brings further social benefits to the area. Positioned on the River Thames, with potential for jetty access, Momentum will offer an easy stepping stone into Central London and out via the A13, just minutes away.

 

Darren Hutchinson, Head of UK Real Estate Transactions and Managing Director at Barings, said: Momentum London will be a strategically located logistics scheme with strong environmental and social credentials, beneficial both to future occupiers and the communities around it. Logistics is one of Barings’ preferred investment sectors and Momentum London exemplifies the kind of developments we’re seeking, with a keen interest in exploring joint ventures like this one with HBD.”

 

Simon Quine, Senior Development Surveyor at HBD, said: “Industrial and logistics space remains in very limited supply across London, particularly larger distribution units. Momentum will plug that gap within the M25 and provide modern, sustainable logistics and distribution space to serve London and the wider South East market. Landscaping and wellness have been thoroughly considered, with careful design considerations and enhancements to the Thames Foot and Cycle path, which we hope will help occupiers to attract and retain staff.”

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Mirrored furniture trend can create the illusion of space in your home

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Mirrored furniture provokes strong emotions. Some see it as the epitome of bad taste, flashy and bling. Others know that mirrors have magic powers.

A mirrored table or cabinet makes a room or a hallway appear more swish and spacious. It’s a trick that bars and restaurants employ to ensure their establishments appear roomier and more inviting — and they can add lustre to your home, too.

Choosing a piece of mirrored furniture also sends out a sign that you are aware of one of the year’s trends — the return of Art Deco, the influential style that emerged in the 1920s. 

Reflections: A mirrored bedside table. The power of the mirror to create an impression has been recognised for centuries

Reflections: A mirrored bedside table. The power of the mirror to create an impression has been recognised for centuries

It blended forms that celebrated modern machinery with decorative elements drawn from Greco-Roman culture and nature. 

The mirror was a favourite material, used on the surfaces of furniture and walls to supply a shimmering silver and gold effect.

Probably the most famous piece of Art Deco architecture is New York’s Chrysler Building. Completed in 1930, its sunburst-patterned stainless steel spire remains one of the key elements of the Manhattan skyline.

Art Deco console tables, drinks trolleys and other items from the era of the building’s construction sell for thousands on auction sites such as 1stdibs underlining the growing appeal of this aesthetic. 

Jamie Watkins, the co-founder of fabric and wallpaper company Divine Savages, explains Art Deco’s allure for a new audience.

‘Art Deco, with its bold geometrical patterns was such an iconic period for design: it’s synonymous with glamour and luxury.’

The resurgent popularity of Art Deco is also based on its practicality: a mirrored piece works with almost any interior, adding interest and depth.

The power of the mirror to create a wow impression has been recognised for centuries. 

Examples of this technique include the round mirror on the wall behind the bride and groom in Jan van Eyck’s 1434 Arnolfini Portrait in the National Gallery. It sends out the message that the couple are discerning — and wealthy.

Cheers: B&M's £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves

Cheers: B&M’s £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves

The hall of mirrors in the palace of Versailles was designed to be a place of beauty, but also to display the financial resources of Louis XIV, the Sun King. Mirrors were a luxury item until an inexpensive manufacturing process was invented in the 1830s.

In 2022, it is possible to pick up mirrored pieces for under £100. B&M has a £25 oval drinks trolley with two mirrored shelves that would lend an air of Thirties elegance to any gathering. The £94.99 Ellison serving cart (a U.S. term for drinks trolley) from Wayfair has a similar vibe.

If you believe that the right mirrored trolley would save you money on trips to bars, the larger £144.95 gold oval mirrored trolley from Melody Maison could be the thing.

A mirrored cocktail cabinet will dazzle guests. The £1,200 Primrose & Plum champagne and gold cabinet has a Jazz-Age feel.

The £299 Venetian sideboard from Furniture Market, meanwhile, is a more modestly priced way to conjure up the party spirit of the Roaring Twenties.

The show flats of apartment blocks are often equipped with mirrored cocktail cabinets containing bottles of spirits and crystal glasses. This makes buyers dream of dinner parties, with a prelude of aperitifs, but also serves to make the apartment appear even roomier.

A console table in the hall also creates an illusion of space which can be amplified by the addition of a lamp. HomesDirect365 has a range in the style of almost every era including Art Deco, Regency, the 1960s and the 1970s. Prices start at £233.

The bedroom is often the most cramped room in either a house or flat which is why this can be the best place to experiment with mirrored furniture. 

The desire to preserve family harmony is another reason. The other members of your household may prefer the kitchen and living room to be slick and understated, seeing anything mirrored as excessive.

In the bedroom, however, you can indulge your decor fantasies. Habitat has the one-drawer Hepburn bedside table for £76.

Next offers the antique effect Fleur bedside table which costs £225 for the one-drawer version and £275 for the two-drawer version. 

The Fleur is also available as a six-drawer chest for £599 or a £1,150 double wardrobe if you seek to waft around your bedroom channelling your inner 1930s Hollywood screen siren. 

Dunelm’s Venetian mirrored dressing table also offers a chance to live out your dream of silver screen stardom (£449).

If mirrored furniture has brought out your party animal, kindling a passion for Art Deco in every guise, Divine Savages offers Deco Martini wallpaper whose design is based on the geometric forms, with a hidden Martini glass within the print (£150 per roll).

Some of your guests may not be too busy checking out their reflections on the doors of the mirrored cabinet to notice this subtle and witty detail in the wallpaper.

Savings of the week! water jugs… Up to 52% off 

The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from made.com is half-price at £22

The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from made.com is half-price at £22

Sitting outside on a sunny afternoon is already delightful. But it is even more enjoyable if you are sipping on a cool drink or an iced coffee from a generously sized jug, or maybe even a Pimm’s. The arrival of the July sales means bargains abound.

If you prioritise practicality, Ocado’s textured lustre plastic picnic jug has 33 per cent off at £8.

The price of the pleasingly geometric plastic smoky-grey Prism jug from Wayfair is 16 per cent off at £10.10. 

If you would like to feel as if you are in the south of France, John Lewis has the plain glass Arles wicker-wrapped jug. It is reduced from £25 to £12, down 52 per cent.

Wanting something more elegant that you can also use for flowers? The Sandvig hammered-glass jug from made.com is also half-price at £22.

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VGP acquires French logistics development

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VGP NV and VALGO signed an agreement to purchase 32 hectares of land that housed the former Petroplus refining units in Petit-Couronne, near Rouen. This brownfield rehabilitation project is fully in line with VGP’s core expertise and strategy. Thanks to the six years ownership of the site by VALGO and its expertise in asbestos removal, soil and water table decontamination, in-situ waste treatment and development, this area has now become a suitable site for the development of new industries and business activities.

 

On the banks of the river Seine and close to the A13 highway, the 32-hectare area of land offers its future users a highly strategic location. Following the extensive depollution work carried out by VALGO, the site is now ready for redevelopment. VGP expanded into France only a few months ago and is delighted to start its French business activities in the dynamic Rouen Normandy metropolis area, via this major project. In total, around 150,000m² of land are set to be redeveloped to accommodate industrial and logistics projects, with work due to begin in 2023.

 

Jan Van Geet, CEO VGP, said: “VGP is delighted to begin its business activities in France on a site as exceptional as this one, with strong economic and environmental ambitions that are shared by both our partner, VALGO, and the local authorities. As the rehabilitation of brownfield sites is at the heart of our business, this project is a great opportunity for us to deploy our industrial and logistical know-how. The uncertain geopolitical situation and the rise in transport prices mean that companies are increasingly looking for local support to start their business. In this context, we strongly believe in the relevance of our integrated model with a long-term vision. We are now eager to get to work and bring all the expertise of the Group to the project.”

 

Francois Bouche, CEO VALGO, commented: “We are delighted that this huge piece of land has been sold to a major investor with experience in redeveloping brownfields in Europe. However, I would first like to celebrate the work of the men and women who worked so hard to make this colossal project a success. It took more than 1 million hours and over €60m in investment by VALGO to turn the page on over 80 years of refining on this site, which already employs 600 people.”

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