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Barter�s Role For Entrepreneur Building World�s Most Expensive Home

Timothy Blixseth, 55, is a most interesting guy. Recently he and his wife split, doing so by sitting down over a glass of wine and dividing up their assets. What a novel idea for a couple with over a billion dollars to share.

He�s also the founder of Yellowstone Club in Big Sky (MT), it�s the only private resort community in the U.S. with its own ski mountain and world-class golf course. Mostly wilderness, it�s a haven for the super rich who pay an initiation fee of $250,000 and are required to purchase property of $1 million to $10 million, plus pay annual dues of $16,000.

The Yellowstone Club has 200 members, and exists because of two barter deals that Blixseth executed in the 1990s, when he and his timber-business partner made a trade with federal officials. They provided 164,000 acres adjacent to Yellowstone National Park in exchange receiving 100,000 acres in the Bozeman/Big Sky area.

Of the 100,000 acres the partner took the timberland, leaving Blixseth and his wife with a stretch of undeveloped land they originally intended to turn into a family compound. After the newly built cabins and chalets became wildly popular with their friends, they decided to create a country club for millionaires looking for an alternative to pricey, pretentious, and over-crowded destinations such as Aspen.

Thus, the development of Yellowstone Club occupying 22 square miles. With an eye toward natural beauty, only 20% of its acreage is slated for development...and the rest remains untouched.

Blixseth�s latest announcement is his plan to build and sell a home there for $155 million. The 53,000-square-foot stone and wood mansion will have 10 bedrooms and sit on 160 acres. A private gondola-like chairlift will carry residents to Yellowstone Club�s private ski slopes. Fully furnished, it will have an indoor/outdoor swimming pool and a home movie theater.

The timber and real estate baron is confident it will sell, suggesting that price is not an issue with the world�s richest who insist on having the best.

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