Prospective Ghost Town in the Sky developers have reached territory unseen in recent years by combining ownership of the land the park sits on.
According to property records kept at the register of deeds’ office, the property has been conveyed from Lula, LLC, for which Alaska Presley is described as the “Sole Member/Manager, Grantor,” to Ghost Town in the Sky, LLC, the grantee.
While state records indicate Sylva attorney Diane Sherrill was the initial registered agent for Ghost Town in the Sky, LLC, the trustee signature provided on the deed belongs to Jimmy F. Wood, Jr., managing member. Furthermore, the address provided for the grantee on the deed is in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and belongs to Calvin Donaldson, who owns a realty company there.
The properties total about 250 acres and contain the entirety of the Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park, including the parking lot at the base of Buck Mountain and the A-frame located on that parcel.
Haywood County Register of Deeds Sherri Rogers said the price one party pays during a property transaction can typically be gleaned from the amount of excise tax paid, considering $2 of every $1,000 that changes hands is charged. However, in this instance, no excise tax was paid, so it is unknown how much, if any, was exchanged in the transaction.
According to statute, there are situations where a party may be exempt from paying excise taxes, half of which go to the county’s general fund and half of which go to the state. Were the property to be purchased at the listing price of $5.95 million, $11,900 in excise taxes would have been collected.
The Mountaineer reported that Ghost Town in the Sky may have a new buyer lined up in October 2019. The property was in the due diligence phase for several months, and the period had been extended multiple times with money being poured into the property throughout that period.
Last summer, real estate agent Linda Taylor, who handled the Ghost Town transaction, said one of the causes for the delay was the coronavirus pandemic.
While the town of Maggie Valley hasn’t provided too many details regarding its discussions with Ghost Town in the Sky, LLC, Wood or anyone else connected to the development, during a board retreat last month, town manager Nathan Clark noted that “the developer” already purchased at least two other properties, one along Moody Farm Road for a 23-unit subdivision and a campground.
“He’s got his toe already in the development waters,” Clark said at that meeting.