Anyone interested in taking a gamble on some stunning lakeview real estate in Leelanau County may want to be at the Little River Casino in Manistee at noon on Sept. 28.
That’s when the ill-fated Leelanau Hills property – an estimated 50 acres, including 92 building lots – will be on the auction block along with several other properties in Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties.
Located up Scott Hill Road just north of M-204 and west of M-22 in Suttons Bay, the nearly vacant Leelanau Hills property also has the unfinished shells of five vacant homes. The scenic site overlooks West Grand Traverse Bay. It became the property of Leelanau County in April 2012 when the former owner failed to pay $159,000 in 2008 and 2009 property taxes.
Kingsley surveyor Bob Mitchell owns about 20 acres in the complex and has two lots for sale that are not part of the auction. He acquired them when the former owner failed to pay the surveying firm for services rendered. Mitchell is now trying to sell the 5.5 acre-sites for $55,000 each, according to his son Jesse Mitchell.
“Over the years, they’ve spent about $7 million or $8 million up there,” says Jesse Mitchell. “All of the sewer and water lines are in the ground, but it still needs natural gas, cable and electric.”
Previous attempts to auction the property failed to generate the minimum bid of $243,250, the amount of unpaid taxes through this year. With no minimum bid in this upcoming auction, the property may finally find a new owner. But before you plan to snag this land for $1, be forewarned.
Anyone considering bidding on Leelanau Hills should be aware that the scenic site has some strict restrictions. As part of a planned unit development, or PUD, it comes with the requirement that it must be developed according to an existing plan. For example, the parcels are required to be connected to municipal water and sewer services, and those services have not been extended to the property. According to the PUD, no wells or septic systems will be allowed.
According to Jesse Mitchell, the pipes are in the ground to connect to the village sewer and water system. “It still needs about $1 million in work,” he adds.
And anyone trying to purchase the property must provide proof of a performance bond sufficient to ensure that the services will be installed within a year of the sale date.
Repeated calls to Leelanau County Clerk Chelly Roush for comment on the sale were not returned. For more information on the auction, visit tax-sale.info or call 800-259-7470.