Keystone Estates Subdivision

Soldotna

1974

The Keystone Estates Subdivision project was a 160 acre river front development project on the Kenai River in Soldotna, Alaska, one of Alaska's most popular salmon fishing destinations. 

We purchased the riverfront land and completed all of the required soil tests, lot staking, etc and received preliminary plat approval within three months of acquiring the property. The land had very good soils and was high enough off the river’s edge that flooding was not a concern as it was for other subdivisions nearby.

During this time the Borough was planning on changing the rules and requirements for future riverfront development, but the new rules were not finished yet. The night of the meeting when the Borough would vote to approve the final plat they said they wanted me to comply with the new rules anyway, which would have been very time consuming and expensive. We pointed out that forcing us to comply with unpublished building code was illegal on their part; the Borough’s attorney at the meeting agreed so the final plat approval was approved. It always pays to show up at the meeting in person!

Investment Thesis

In 1974 construction began on Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), or “Alaska Pipeline” which brought a huge economic boost to the Alaskan economy.

Lessons Learned

Sometimes in thinly traded market the comparable sales method of residential land appraisal can lead to a sub-optimal outcome. In this case we offered the lots for sale at the highest asking prices ever seen in the area, and the lots all sold within 90 days. As it turned out we could have offered the lots at even higher prices as the next summer some lots resold for three times higher than what we had sold them for.