The migration of wealth is moving north from Jackson, and Big Sky, Montana is the latest “discovery.” For 15 years the escalation of prices has brought continued upscale migrants from around the world to the little ski resort on the Gallatin River. (Which is now not so little!) The Big Sky Chamber of Commerce loves it. The town is booming – if you can afford it. If you are lucky enough, you may just have a view of the Blixseth Monster – The world’s most expensive house.
Ted Turner & Bill Gates will be your neighbors if you can afford the price of admission. The dynamics of wealth and real estate are skirted in a Huffington Post piece from Friday. The struggle between ‘good’ exploiters and ‘bad’ exploiters is a circus to behold.
Turner’s “Mean Greenie” stance has brought him fame and fortune for his insight into how to make money and stay green. In 1989, when he bought the Flying D ranch he noted that: “Up the road at the Big Sky resort, condos are sprouting faster than Montana wheat.”
In Jackson, Wyoming much of the labor force must cross Teton Pass to get to work and back home to Idaho. In Big Sky, Montana it’s either a 40 mile drive in the treacherous Gallatin Canyon, or company housing, (4 to a room,) in motels purchased by the mega developers. A summary of recent news about the boom has even made the pages of the New York Times.
Here’s a hint: West Yellowstone is also wiping out slums and developing it’s sparse holdings. For 13 years the local, and international developers have discovered the unique land situation that exists.
The town is surrounded on three sides by the Gallatin National Forest and on the other by Yellowstone National Park. The USFS continues to grant land-exchanges to wealthy developers for fancy houses, and the Union Pacific Railroad made a sweetheart deal with developers for space for vacation time-share complexes and new retail space.
The Guest Workers in West Yellowstone, Montana live in ‘company housing’ usually consisting of ancient mobile homes, converted churches, and cribs in converted tin buildings. How’s $300/month sound – for 200 square feet and you pay the utilities? Maybe you’d rather have a family of four in 450 square feet for $500/month, and you pay the utilities – and repairs!
The boom is so important that construction continues in all weather and sometimes into the night. Get out your wallet – there’s more to come.