Moun­tain MAN

Calgary Herald New Condos - - Recreation & Investment - MARTY HOPE

Cal­gary Flames leg­end Lanny McDon­ald has never backed away from a chal­lenge.

Dur­ing Game 6 of the Stan­ley Cup fi­nals in 1989, the Flames went into the dreaded Montreal Fo­rum to play the Cana­di­ens. Led by their fiery, red-headed co­cap­tain who pot­ted a goal, the Flames scored a 4-2 win to bring the Stan­ley Cup back to Cal­gary.

For McDon- ald, it was the last time he would lace up skates as a pro­fes­sional hockey player, re­tir­ing in the off­sea­son. Since then, the chal­lenges have been along more tra­di­tional busi­ness lines,

the most re­cent be- ing his move into land de­vel­op­ment in Mon­tana. All McDon­ald did was buy him­self a moun­tain.

Bear Moun­tain Mon­tana is McDon­ald’s first ven­ture into de­vel­op­ment and it, too, has brought chal­lenges — but not of McDon­ald’s mak­ing. Lake­side Mon­tana is just a lit­tle ways down the road from Big­fork — an area in which McDon­ald has spent much of his leisure time for three decades or more.

Roads had been care­fully plot­ted and cut, prop­erty stakes had been driven into the ground, and mar­ket­ing and sales had started when the eco­nomic down­turn steam­rollered across the con­ti­nent.

Sud­denly, the real es­tate sec­tor was un­der siege — whether it was prin­ci­pal res­i­dences or recre­ation prop­erty.

“It was a tough time,” says McDon­ald dur­ing a re­cent wine-and-cheese evening to show po­ten­tial pur­chasers what Bear Moun­tain Mon­tana has to of­fer. ”But we’re ready to go again.”

The project has come out of hi­ber­na­tion with five of the 26 lots on the moun­tain sold — and with a cou­ple of other deals in the works.

Those lots, many of which of­fer great views of Flat­head Lake, range from 1.4 to 3.55 hectares. Much thought went into the sit­ing of the lots, says McDon­ald.

“Even as an 18-year-old, I had the phi­los­o­phy that if you’re go­ing to do any­thing, do it right,” he says. “So that’s been the chal­lenge for me with Bear Moun­tain.”

Chal­lenges in­cluded hav­ing to make price ad­just­ments in an at­tempt to at­tract buy­ers. McDon­ald says lots that were priced from $650,000 to $1.3 mil­lion US are now listed at $349,000 to $1.04 mil­lion.

“There has never been a bet- ter time to buy,” says McDon­ald. “Mort­gage rates are low, prices have been ad­justed, and labour and build­ing costs are down.”

Back from an on-site meet­ing with peo­ple from Ari­zona looking for a spot to get away from the sum­mer heat of the Sono­ran Desert, McDon­ald says there has been more in­ter­est in Bear Moun­tain in the past three or four months than there was in the pre­vi­ous five or six.

“Peo­ple are ex­plor­ing their op­tions,” he says. “They’re out shop­ping around be­cause ev­ery­body’s looking for a deal.”

While much of the buyer in­ter­est is com­ing from Ari­zona, Cal­i­for­nia and Florida, Cal­gar­i­ans are also looking at the area.

Dur­ing the past decade, Joel and Paula Jard­ing and their fam­ily have spent much time in Mon­tana’s Flat­head Val­ley.

They are among the five who have pur­chased at Bear Moun­tain Mon­tana. The cou­ple bought a lake­view lot about half­way up the moun­tain.

Orig­i­nally from South Dakota, but Cana­dian cit­i­zens since 2008, the Jard­ings have had the op­por­tu­nity, be­cause of their work in the oil and gas in­dus­try, to live in five dif­fer­ent states and four coun­tries, but have a soft spot for the Flat­head.

“We con­sider this area to be one of the most beau­ti­ful in all the world,” says Joel. “Glacier Park and Flat­head Lake are truly amaz­ing.”

Be­fore de­cid­ing to buy, the Jard­ings vis­ited Bear Moun­tain sev­eral times and walked all 26 lots, in­clud­ing sev­eral hikes to their favourites. “Ev­ery lot has a spec­tac­u­lar view; it’s in­de­scrib­able,” says Joel.

The Jard­ings learned about Bear Moun­tain when Joel and McDon­ald worked to­gether at Baker Hughes Canada, an oil and gas ser­vices com­pany in Cal­gary.

“We got to talk­ing and things went from there,” says McDon­ald.

With three decades as a sea­sonal res­i­dent, the McDon­ald fam­ily has be­come a big part of the busi­ness com­mu­nity in Lake­side.

In ad­di­tion to own­ing Bear Moun­tain, the fam­ily has also pur­chased, ren­o­vated and re­opened a restau­rant and ma­rina. As well, a daugh­ter, An­dra, and her hus­band, Josh Towns­ley, are part­ners in the Ta­ma­rack Brew­ing Co.

While McDon­ald con­tin­ues to over­see the de­vel­op­ment of Bear Moun­tain, he has passed the sales part of the busi­ness to Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional, and Josee LaBelleHop­kins of Cal­gary-based Re­Max Realty Pro­fes­sion­als.

“They’re the pro­fes­sion­als when it comes to mar­ket­ing and sell­ing, and they’ve been do­ing a great job,” he says.

Mean­while, McDon­ald is ready­ing for a Christ­mas trip to his Mon­tana home, where he plans on do­ing some busi­ness with the Ari­zona peo­ple who are mak­ing a re­turn trip to the moun­tain.

Cal­gary Her­ald Ar­chive

Re­tired Cal­gary Flames leg­end Lanny McDon­ald is of­fer­ing 26 lots at his Bear Moun­tain Mon­tana de­vel­op­ment near Flat­head Lake.

Cal­gary Her­ald Ar­chive

The view from one of the lots at Bear Moun­tain Mon­tana, a 26-lot de­vel­op­ment that in­cludes views of Flat­head Lake. Prices range from $349,000 to $1.04 mil­lion.

Marty Hope, Cal­gary Her­ald

For­mer Cal­gary Flame Lanny McDon­ald is mar­ket­ing the de­vel­op­ment, which is near Lake­side, Mont.

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