Eerie photos show a neighborhood of abandoned, million-dollar McMansions
Seph LawlessAn abandoned home in Beachwood Estates.Seph Lawless
In June 2013, heavy rains led to a catastrophic flood in the Canadian province of Alberta, causing an estimated five billion Canadian dollars in property damage.
One of the hardest-hit areas was the town of High River, a suburb of Calgary.
In Beachwood Estates, a High River neighborhood full of million-dollar homes, floodwaters rose so high that residents had to abandon their properties, according to the Calgary Herald.
Photographer Seph Lawless
documented the homes before they were sold or demolished earlier in 2017. He captured them, abandoned and eerie, awaiting their final fate.
That includes removing utilities and filling in basements.
The local government is now in the process of returning the land to its natural state.
Buyers had 160 days to move their new houses, which means that the structures are now spread out across the country.
This necessitates the removal of the roof as well.
Since the homes are fairly large, they must first be taken apart and then moved piece by piece.
The homes will cost tens of thousands of Canadian dollars to move, in a conservative estimate.
Moving a house is a daunting prospect.
Though numerous projects have been undertaken since the devastating floods, it still isn't completely safe to live on the flood plain, city officials say.
After the flood, it was found that the homes were built on a flood plain of the nearby Highwood River.
In addition to rehabilitating the abandoned houses, buyers must also move them.
The auction came with a huge catch, however.
The most expensive sold for 262,500 Canadian dollars ($195,138). The property values for many of the homes verged near one million Canadian dollars ($743,386) before the flood.
Eleven of the homes hit the hammer below the 100,000 Canadian dollars ($74,338) mark, but a few sold for around double that.
The auction for the homes started at 50 Canadian dollars ($37).
The remaining homes sat empty until early 2017, when they were auctioned off by the Alberta government to recoup some losses.
The cost of the relocation program for the community totaled 92.9 million Canadian dollars ($69 million).
The fate of another 14 is still up in the air.
Of the 94 properties that were purchased by the state, 54 were or will be demolished, and 26 were offered up for sale.
As part of a relocation platform, the homes were bought by the Alberta state government, according to the Calgary Herald.
Now the homes sit empty and abandoned, virtually untouched for four years.
Beachwood Estates was once a thriving community full of pricey homes tucked among more modest ones.