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School owes bank $1.5 million in loans

HELENA – A piece of prime Montana development property once deemed the financial solution for a private Christian school has now become a symbol of something altogether different: the state’s deep real-estate downturn.

A state judge has signed an order for a sheriff’s sale of land owned by the Helena Christian School, the Helena Independent-Record reported.

Amid the wreckage of a deal gone sour, the two sides have agreed on an amount to be paid to the bank.

In a pact signed earlier this month, the parties agreed the school backers owe Mountain West bank about $1.53 million, plus $11,382 in fees and 6 percent interest accumulating since Aug. 3, 2010.

The land in question is 326 acres, located near the Scratchgravel Hills, an area northwest of Helena where the past century’s extensive mining activities have given way to a different sort of development: big houses.

Helena Christian backers hoped to follow suit, to raise cash for their school.

As real-estate transactions soured, however, bankers sued for the owners to pay down the loan by $1 million, leading to this week’s court decision.

Attempts to develop the property have faltered with demand for homes flagging.


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