If there is one characteristic about Mammoth Lakes I find to be very frustrating it is the appearance and blight found along parts of Main Street and Old Mammoth Road. Through my conversations with local residents and visitors I have found I’m not alone; these two streets are the most heavily traveled and most visible corridors in town.
It’s not uncommon for any community to experience a decline in appearance, in fact recession and recovery phases are outlined as two of the four components making up the Real Estate Economic Cycle. The four phases of the real estate economic cycle are Recession, Recovery, Expansion and Hyper-Supply.
Where Mammoth has run into difficulty is deciding how to best deal with these blighted areas. Some of Mammoth’s most visible and prominent properties are owned by financial institutions such as Credit Suisse or IStar Financial, taking little initiative to raze or renovate their blighted properties. Many of these properties are fully vacated motels or larger commercial centers with low occupancy levels and are key locations within our community.
So what does a small town do to motivate a property owner to improve or demolish these properties? Improving or demolishing a property requires capital and most likely won’t result in a return on investment. Well, the Town of Mammoth Lakes has taken some steps to reach out to owners and discuss incentives for demolition. A demolished property in a high traffic area could potentially be used as a much needed parking lot until such time as the property is better suited for re-development. The Town has also been seeking community improvement grants that can be used to enhance amenities or even to create parking areas. These grants could offer financial relief in form of demolition assistance or rent concessions for parking areas. Other discussions have taken place to cooperate with Mono County on lowering dumping fees.
What other efforts can be made to help see the demolition of unsightly properties in Mammoth Lakes? Well, part of the reason many properties are not being torn down is the fear of losing grandfathered property rights. For example, if a property has certain water rights associated with it through the local water company, these rights can often be voided when improvements are torn down. The Town of Mammoth Lakes could offer help to property owners by allowing them to maintain their rights or by offsetting losses through grants or other benefits.
While a date has not been set for the demolition of any of these key properties, I would guess the White Stagg Inn property, Ullr Lodge Property, and possibly the four-plex across from the Woodsite will be demolished by the summer of 2015, helping to reduce blight and improve the appearance of Mammoth Lakes. Here is a short video I shot in front of the Ullr Lodge showing the state of just one building. Below are a few properties I think could be razed in the near future:
White Stagg Inn: This property is located on the corner of Main Street and Minaret Road in Mammoth Lakes and used to be a fully functional 21-unit motel owned by one of my best friend’s family. Demolition of this property will also include the demolition of some good memories. The property is frequently broken into and inhabited by squatters. Graffiti can also be found on random occasions.
The Ullr Lodge in Mammoth Lakes is located just south of the White Stagg Inn and is also subject to vandalism and habitation by squatters.
The Old Catholic Church in Mammoth Lakes was one of several churches operated by local Catholic Priest Father Savage. Father Savage also worked in Lee Vining and other small communities within Mono County, ultimately raising enough money to realize the construction of a new church… only to be relocated prior its construction.
Log cabin and lodge located along Lake Mary Road, just east of Minaret Road and south of the former Whiskey Creek.
For more information on these properties or other Real Estate in Mammoth Lakes, please call 760-934-1110 or email Matthew at Matthew@HomesMammoth.com