Foreclosure halted on mountaintop development

Foreclosure halted on mountaintop development

January 19th, 2013 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

John "Thunder" Thornton, left, and Dane Bradshaw stand in front of a waterfall that can be seen from one of their bluff view lots at the new 9,000-acre residential development Jasper Highlands.

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

Illustration by Laura McNutt /Times Free Press.

The developer of a mountaintop project near Kimball, Tenn., has settled a legal dispute with one of his lenders, clearing the way for additional home lots to be added in the biggest residential complex ever proposed in Marion County.

John "Thunder" Thornton said Friday he and his partner, Dane Bradshaw, reached an out-of-court settlement with River Valley Agricultural Credit Services, formerly Chattanooga Ag Credit, over the debt on much of Jasper Mountain in Marion County.

River Valley initiated foreclosure action last spring on part of the mountain designated for future development. But that action later was halted by a Marion County chancellor.

Under the settlement between Thornton's Tango November LLC and River Valley, both parties will drop lawsuits against each other, Chattanooga attorney Bill Horton said.

The foreclosure did not involve the initial 800 acres of the Jasper Mountain development, known as Jasper Highlands. Since Thornton's Thunder Enterprises built a road up the mountain and cleared the initial 99 home lots on the top of Jasper Mountain, 66 lots have been sold "and prospects in the past few weeks have been as strong as we've seen in months," Thornton said. Five homes are under construction, Thornton said.

"Our sales have been terrific and we're about completed with the first phase," he said. "Our leads have never been heavier than they have been since Christmas."

By the end of March, Thornton hopes to open up the initial lot in the 121-lot second phase, which includes two areas with waterfalls and forests. The lots range in size from an acre up to 13.5 acres.

For the initial phase, Thornton completed 12,750 feet of road up and on the mountain and created seven stormwater retention ponds to control runoff. Sequatchie Valley Electric Cooperative has installed power up the mountain and underground utilities are being laid on the mountaintop.

The lots in the development are being sold from $29,900 up to $149,900.

"Our infrastructure is in great shape even after this Monsoon season we've been experiencing," Thornton quipped. "We greet people from all over the country on a daily basis that come to see our remarkable views."

Thornton said he still owns or has options on all of the additional property on Jasper Mountain.