Prehistoric Forest finds buyer after standing vacant for over a decade

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Prehistoric Forest, a beloved icon on U.S. 12, sold last week to Sandra Crabb from California. The property sold in two parcels, which total 15.95 acres, for $399,000 in a cash sale.

Realtor Mary Alice Kozemchak of Killarney Realty said the property has not been occupied since the 1990s. “It’s been for sale forever,” she said.

Kozemchak put the property on the market about six months ago and was surprised at the interest shown by prospective buyers. There were several buyers interested in the property, all with good ideas, according to Kozemchak, about developing the property.

“I was like, wow, this is pretty darn good,” said Kozemchak. “I was really surprised, we had six different people look at it.”

Crabb has already started painting and fixing up the property, according to Kozemchak.

“The Prehistoric Forest was in pristine condition,” she said. “I’m really glad they bought the whole thing.”

There had been discussion of putting in some kind of restaurant, and Kozemchak said the buyer indicated she wanted to refurbish the dinosaurs. “I don’t know if it’s a nostalgia thing,” Kozemchak said.

For Kozemchak, the sale of Prehistoric Forest is just another indicator that the real estate market is improving in the Irish Hills. Killarney Realty sold three commercial properties in the area since February, two on U.S. 12 and one on M-50.
“I think U.S. 12 is making a comeback,” said Kozemchak “We are very busy. It’s wonderful.”

Interest in most of the properties is strong, but many prospective buyers cannot get the financing they need to purchase and develop property. “There are a lot of people wanting to do things, but they can’t get the money from the banks,” Kozemchak said. “You have to have cash, or good luck.”

Her dream is to see the business base along U.S. 12 stay family oriented, but Kozemchak is concerned that townships are not zoned to keep out unwanted or inappropriate businesses. “If you pick one of the wrong businesses, nothing good will come,” said Kozemchak of the dangers of unclear zoning ordinances.

“I think that the residents in this area need to contact their townships and get some good strong zoning regulations,” Kozemchak said. She was a member of the Cambridge Township Planning Commission for 12 years, and was disappointed that she was not able to strengthen the zoning regulations in the township during her tenure.

“U.S. 12 should be a family zone,” said Kozemchak. “You need some guidelines.”
The sale of Prehistoric Forest is a step in the right direction for the Irish Hills, Kozemchak believes. “I’m just pleased as punch,” she said.

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