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Recession leaves behind ghost towns, what now? [PHOTOS]

As the recession hit, developers lost funding and pulled out, leaving ghost towns behind in their wake – this is what the aftermath looks like.

As the recession hit, developers lost funding and pulled out, leaving ghost towns behind in their wake - this is what the aftermath looks like.

Aftermath of the recession

Curating site,, outlined a variety of ghost towns that have been left behind in the wake of the economic recession. These locations were built but never home to any residents but have left behind the equivalent of real estate gravestones of abandoned projects that have become ghost towns.

The speculation game has changed dramatically over the last several years, but the most critical part of development is keeping cash flow and not losing bank funding but when credit froze up and banks collapsed, real estate developers were among the first to get hit which is why we now have sad, dusty ghost towns behind which are more than just an eye sore, it is a mark of the times.

Below are five ghost towns the recession has created:

Lonely model homes in Rio Vista, California- never occupied in an entire subdivision where streets were laid and it looks like even utilities were cut, but has since been abandoned.

Tennessee is home to Laurel Cove, a golf course community abandoned as a result of bankruptcy, which is unfortunate- the club house looks quite beautiful!

Little Egg Harbor in New Jersey features completed homes that have never been occupied. Perhaps funding was pulled, perhaps there was an issue with government backing, but either way, the project is currently on hold, it is unclear if it has been abandoned.

Nevada has been one of the worst hit states during this recession, as evidenced by the vacant Fountainbleau Casino which declared bankruptcy in 2009 and was only half way completed.

Commercial real estate has taken a major hit as well, especially in California. Millions of square feet sit vacant in this Natoma, CA project for reasons unknown.

What now?

With millions of square feet sitting vacant and unfinished, when will reconstruction begin? Will the original developers pick up where they left off or will the bigger developers pick up land and half finished projects at fire sale prices? Will lending loosen up to the point that bulldozers can fire back up or are we in for more developments breaking ground then becoming ghost towns?

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Justin Boland

    May 24, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Wild. Great photos — I’m sure there’s millions more out there, too.

    As for solutions, there’s a very interesting outfit from the UK called Spacemakers who co-ordinate with the landlords to create super-cheap studio space with an eye towards incubating new businesses:

    The solutions will have to be low-cost, high-comprimise, and involve the whole community acting as a community instead of trying to re-coup on a business transaction.

  2. Nadina Cole-Potter

    May 24, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Add to those pictures the many high-end “broken” condo and condo-conversion developments now standing vacant in the Phoenix area, plus the devastated “ghost neighborhoods” (both residential and commercial) that Hispanic families have fled from in Arizona. This is the 2nd wave exodus, the first being the passage of a referendum called Proposition 200 a couple of years ago. Also note similar legislation earlier in Prince Edward County, Virginia. A great film documenting the unintended economically devastating consequences, plus a significant property tax increase, on the entire county, is “9500 Liberty” — trailer available at

    Be careful what you demand of your government — you might just get what you don’t want instead. Be careful of outside “experts” selling snake oil political “solutions”. Beware of community agitators who talk about “the people of this community” as if a significant portion of tax-paying community members no longer count.

  3. Ken Brand

    May 24, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    There are sad scenes, dashed dreams and bitter tears sprawling across the planet. Lessons learned the hardway. Like mom said, no such thing as fair.

  4. Nick Sweeney, DotLoop Social Media

    May 25, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Oh, so THIS is what over-leveraged looks like.

  5. Joe

    May 25, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    I do not believe the economy will return strong any time soon. Our economy is too tied into the global economy to recover quickly. With that said, our housing market will too recover slowly. These ghosts towns are here to stay for some time, unfortunately.

  6. Connor

    April 28, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    that one huge ass development in rio vista is something id rather not look at. am i the only one that hates huge developments and compact neighborhoods? dont get me wrong, people need to live somewhere, but seriously, im sick and tired of seeing massive amounts of suburbs and townhouses pop up all around me. the land was so beautiful and the area was so nice and peaceful. there was no traffic or strict rules, and these people that think they own the place move in and start forcing the townships to do what they want. now i cant hunt anymore like i used to and have to drive an hour and half north just to get to a shooting range that doesnt suck. now the trails and woods i once ran through are just big imposing houses full of ungrateful yuppies and their even more ungrateful children. to be honest, i was hoping that the recession would make people go back to where they came from which is mostly new jersey or the city, but more realistically i was hoping it would teach people that they dont need huge houses to live happily. i was hoping it would show them that they cant always get what they want and that they need to fend for themselves. well i guess i was wrong, its done nothing. the same folks are buying stuff uncontrollably still, they are actually going on government welfare and foodstamps to keep said lifestyle moving. the only thing this has done is freezed development in its tracks, but now china's gonna beat us in the global market so that isnt good either.

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