The village area at Whitefish Mountain Resort is full of high-end lodging options and bustles with restaurants, bars, outfitters and coffee houses riding the waves of money brought to the mountain by skiers and visitors.
Nestled between Chair 2 and the lodging at Edelweiss is one thing that doesn’t fit this picture of commerce — the vacant lot once home to the Alpinglow Inn. The historic condominium building was demolished in 2010 and the site has sat vacant since then.
The piece of land at 3900 Big Mountain Road sits almost directly adjacent to Chair 2 and offers views over the Flathead Valley. It is a prime location for ski-in, ski-out access, and the zoning codes in the midst of the mountain’s most developed parcel allow for just about anything.
The property measures a modest 1.046 acres and is listed at $3.5 million. It has been for sale the past three years, according to Brian Murphy, a real estate agent with Rocky Mountain Real Estate, the firm through which the current owner, Shaw Properties has it listed for sale.
“Right now it serves as the best parking spot on the mountain for the owners,” Murphy said.
Murphy said the owners are in no hurry to sell the plot without securing the asking price they set years ago, and that’s why it’s been on the market so long without seeing a price reduction.
He said it could sit there for another three years, but interest levels have piqued as the mountain has had a successful past few years. He stressed no deal was imminent, but it is closer than at any time in recent history.
The most interested parties through the years have been primarily focused on erecting buildings meant for short-term stays with common-use lodges, and that remains true today, he said.
While real-estate sales in general in the Flathead Valley have been setting post-recession records, those sales have been concentrated at much lower price points. Properties that cost millions have a much higher propensity to just sit while owners pay the property taxes. The lot next to Chair 2 is indicative of that trend.
Some Realtors have predicted that as the lower-priced stock sells out, some of the higher-priced plots could begin to see more interest. Murphy said other properties in the $400,000 range on Whitefish Mountain have been selling quite well over the past couple of years.
While the vacant lot does almost directly border the slopes on one side, it is surrounded by parking lots and the nearly blank northeastern face of the Edelweiss on the other three sides. It does afford great views if one is looking toward the slopes or out into the expanse of the valley.
The property is the most expensive listing for a piece of land in the Flathead under 2 acres in a search done on www.realtor.com. It eclipsed the second-most expensive lot, 0.4 acres on Lakeside Boulevard on Whitefish Lake, by a whopping $1.4 million.
The property used to hold the Alpinglow Inn, which was demolished over the course of a day and a half in May 2010. It had a consortium of 34 different owners at the time, some of whom had just taken a big financial hit in the recession, according to an article in the Whitefish Pilot.
Time-share units in Alpinglow had originally sold for just under $10,000 to people who generally reserved a unit a few weeks out of the year for their own use and rented them out for short-term use the rest of the year.
In 2007 the owners received an engineering report that summarized what it would have cost to get the building’s structural features back to working order, and it was just too high.
The Alpinglow Inn was constructed in 1968, and was torn down when it was only 42 years old. The owners didn’t have any plans or money to build a new building.
Eventually they put it on the market, where it still sits.
Reporter Peregrine Frissell can be reached at (406) 758-4438 or pfrissell@dailyinterlake