Bison Cove Condo Project Facing Threat Of Foreclosure

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Due to a “horrible market,” the Bison Cove condominium project near the Payson Police Department is up for foreclosure.

According to owner and president of Bison Homes, Gary Martinson, the project has had little to no sales since its opening in June 2007 due to the horrible real estate market during the last several years.

“For some reason they have not sold, even though it is a great product in a great location, the market has just not been there,” he said.

Bison Cove offered three different, two-bedroom, two-bath condominium floor plans, ranging in size from 1,000 to 1,400 square feet, with prices beginning around $200,000.

Thirty of the complex’s planned 300-plus units were built in phase one.

Phoenix-based Bison Homes had planned to add 300 additional condominiums to the community during the next five to seven years in an adjacent 40-acre property on East Malibu Drive.

Phase II was also supposed to include construction of a clubhouse with a fitness center, a meeting room and indoor pool. Martinson said Bison Homes would hold onto the undeveloped 40-acre site and it was not up for foreclosure.

After the first units were built in 2007, construction plans fell flat after dismal sales.

Bison Cove Realtor Sue Yale said only six units were ever sold with 11 other units being rented out and several others used as short-term vacation rentals. Yale said she was worried about the renters being thrown out.

“People have signed one-year leases and I don’t know what will happen to them,” Yale said.

Martinson said the foreclosure should not affect renters.

“It won’t be shut down,” he said. “But we will have to wait and see. Regardless, we will probably stay involved.”

Martinson said there is a chance the foreclosure will not go through.

“We are hoping that this does not have to happen,” Bison Cove Realtor Susie Robb said about the foreclosure. “There is a chance the organization can reorganize and it won’t happen.”

Last summer, Bison Home opened an information center on Highway 87 near Wendy’s. On Wednesday, for rent signs hung in the office’s windows, another sign the company is having problems.

“Very soon we will close this office,” Yale said.

Yale said she learned of the foreclosure on Monday. She received several phone calls on Tuesday and by Wednesday the notice was on the window.

“If you look back, corporations weren’t in trouble like they are today,” she said.

For 30 years, Bison Homes has developed resort communities throughout Arizona including the Heber-Overgaard and Show Low areas. Martinson said the other communities are not at risk for foreclosure.

When asked if the company saw the foreclosure coming in Payson, Martinson said they had seen it for two years.

First Community Bank in Phoenix issued the $6 million mortgage. The foreclosure sale is set for May 22 at the Gila County Courthouse in Globe.

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