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Wednesday, 25 February 2009 19:43

Purported mega-development disappears from radar

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Cataloochee Wilderness Resort, a 4,500-acre proposed development in Haywood County’s Jonathan Creek community, appears to have fallen off the map.

Developers first announced plans for the massive Resort in November 2007. They touted residential, commercial and retail phases, including golf courses, a ski resort, high-rise hotel and more than 2,000 single-family homes — though the developers never purchased a single parcel of land in the area they planned to develop.

Residents were shocked at the scale of the proposed resort, which would have spanned both sides of a valley from ridgeline to ridgeline. Many also questioned the involvement in the project of Dean Moses, a local businessman who left behind a string of failed business proposals in Haywood County in the past.

Following a big splash a year ago, the alleged developers have fallen silent. So last week, The Smoky Mountain News tracked down Frank Singleton, the former director of public relations for Cataloochee Wilderness Resort, to find out the latest.

Singleton said that the heads of the project told him months ago to stop doing any marketing, advertising, or public relations work for the Resort.

“It’s been about eight months since we stopped doing work for them,” Singleton said. “When the financial meltdown started, they basically said ‘right now, we’re going to have to hold off.’”

Singleton said the project may still be moving along, but at a snail’s pace.

“I think this economy has brought everything to a temporary standstill,” he said. “I think they’re still moving along slowly on some things while they wait for the lending environment to improve.”

Singleton, though, hasn’t spoken with the directors of the Cataloochee Wilderness Resort development “in months.”

The Haywood County planning office also reported that it has yet to receive any plans from the developers of the Resort.

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