Story Mill site sold

A trailer sits in pieces at the Bridger View Trailer Park which American Bank of Bozeman, bought Nov. 3, 2011, with a bid of $6.2 million.The mill and trailer court were once slated to be the site of the most ambitious development ever in Bozeman.

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A dozen spectators stood on the steps of the Gallatin County Courthouse on Thursday watching sheriff’s deputy Vickie Johnson auction off the historic Story Mill and defunct Bridger View Trailer Court properties.

The auction lasted about two minutes. There was only one bid.

The lending company that foreclosed on the properties, American Bank of Bozeman, cast the lone and winning bid of $6.2 million.

Bryan Klein, bank president, said the properties will remain for sale.

“We will be considering both a bulk sale strategy as well as a strategy of selling parcels,” he said.

Located less than two miles north of downtown Bozeman on Bridger Drive, the mill and trailer court were once slated to be the site of the most ambitious development ever in Bozeman.

In 2006, Matthew Crocker, son of former Yellowstone Club owner Edra Blixseth, announced plans to build an eclectic, environmentally friendly neighborhood containing 1,200 homes and 140,000 square feet of shopping, restaurants and other commercial space.

Residents of the trailer court were asked to leave, but plans for the development fell apart. American Bank initiated foreclosure proceedings on the property in 2008.

After Thursday’s auction, at least three different groups exchanged contact information with Ashby Miller Jr., vice president of American Bank.

Miller said people expressed interest in buying the properties, but there are no “strong leads.”

A representative for Habitat for Humanity, a local dog trainer and two men who declined to speak with the Chronicle were among those who met with Miller.

Dave Magistrelli, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Gallatin Valley, said the nonprofit is interested in buying the 17-acre trailer court.

“We could use that to build decent affordable housing here in the Bozeman area,” he said. “It’s also right next to the Boys and Girls Club. Part of the reason the Boys and Girls Club moved out there was because of the number of children in that mobile home park.”

Magistrelli said the nonprofit’s vision is to have a community of low-income homes, with some built by the private sector and some by Habitat for Humanity.

He said he’s looking into potential funding sources for the project, such as federal housing and urban development funds. He said he has also contacted the Rural Community Assistance Corporation for help.

“We would need a lot of help with it,” Magistrelli said. “’But that would be a great place to provide some decent affordable housing for this area.”

The dog trainer who spoke with Miller after the auction, Nancy Tanner, who owns Paws & People, declined to discuss her interest in the property.

Amanda Ricker can be reached at aricker@dailychronicle.com or 582-2628.

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