The 1,120 acres in the Black Mountains includes a ranch house, a bunker, a pond stocked with fish and a helipad for access by air. Vehicular access to the property some seven miles from Bullhead City is a difficult proposition at best.
The remote location and access challenge limits the future field of prospective buyers for the property appraised at $7.7-million. Its location within the Black Mountain ecosystem and protected plant and animal life makes the property ripe for a possible land exchange with the Bureau of Land Management.
City Manager Toby Cotter said the city is essentially in a caretaking mode and biding its time before capitalizing upon the asset. He said the city has years ahead to identify parcels of government held property in or closer to Bullhead City that might be exchanged for what Laughlin called his “Chief Mountain Retreat.”
“We’ve already started some verbal conversations,” Cotter said. “What we’re going to do now is evaluate each and every one of the parcels that are within the city or nearby the city so that as we move forward over the next year or two we can say these are the ones that should be part of a proposed land swap.”
BLM land exchanges frequently take a year or more to complete. Cotter said the city can initiate a proposed swap in advance so as to coincide with the December 15, 2020 date when the city is free to move the property.
Contemplation of land exchanges and possible involvements of parties in the private sector will be considered going forward.
“That’s where it will get very exciting over the next few years is when people start thinking about are we selling, are we trading and what are we trading for,” Cotter said. “There’s a lot of different opportunities and I think we have to be creative and make the best deal possible for the citizens of Bullhead.”
Cotter said he believes the city will spend about $55,000 a year on a caretaker, insurance and utilities to maintain the property.