When he bought
Toby Studley isn’t a gambler. He’s not a regular at casinos, and he rarely buys a Lotto ticket. So the irony isn’t lost on him that he bet the house on a rumored casino opening in the Pennsylvania ski resort town of Seven Springs. It all started 12 years ago when he spent a weekend in Seven Springs. He had grown up in the Washington D.C. area, three-and-a-half hours away and had skied this mountain as a kid. While there, he heard buzz about a few developments, including a casino, that were in the pipeline, and thought, “I should buy a condo on this mountain.”
“Everything then happened really fast,” he remembers. Until it didn’t … Twelve years later, ground remains unbroken on the casino, and the value of the two-bedroom condo he bought for $170,000, has long since plateaued. When the novelty of having a ski pad wore off, tinges of regret arose. “If instead I had bought a similar place in Washington D.C. near the NBA’s Washington Nationals stadium, the value would have tripled by now.” He’s been toying with the idea of selling his mountain condo but hasn’t for fear that the jackhammers would immediately break ground and he would miss out on the boom.
What he learned
Resort areas tend to be speculative, Toby now realizes. “I banked on a rumored development, and it never materialized. Before jumping into a deal based on a proposed development, I recommend visiting the city planning commission to find out the real status.” Also, chat up the year-round community. “They might say, ‘Oh that. Pshtt. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that one …’”