Sugar Top was conceived in the minds of some fine architects, engineers, planners and administrators from the Resort Investment Corp. and the US Capitol Corp. Their dream was of a 5-story wood and steel building, which would have covered pretty much the exact same square foot base as Sugar Top actually does today. At that time, the plan was for the 1100 square foot individual condo units to be built somewhere else and for the completed units to slip into the readied slots, like stack trailers, much the same as many motels are built. There was to be a five-story atrium in the center.
They hired S & W Construction Co. as the original contractor, to start early in 1982. That company folded and the Fireman’s Fund Bonding Company stepped in to pay off any outstanding debt. Next, the LP Cox Construction Co. of Sanford North Carolina came in, and was the company that completed the job.
The building of Sugar Top became the most controversial living quarters in the history of North Carolina, and because of this, the Avery County Board of Commissioners passed a moratorium in March of 1983 on all High Rise construction in the county, in anticipation of a State Ridge Law. That Ridge Law made Sugar Top the last of it’s kind to be built on the ridge of a mountain, and that law was made even before the building was occupied. However, all 320 units were planned and designed well before the battle for the statewide ridge top development regulation began in the legislature. Therefore, Sugar Top is exempt from the law’s provisions. The exclusivity that the Ridge Law gave Sugar Top had proven to be a boon for the developers.
Sugar Top as we know her, was about to grow into the proud strong fortress that she is today. She started her life with three huge concrete and steel structures, already 10 stories high, one at each end of the building and the third on in the middle. These structures held the staircases, and were the end markings for all 320 condos to be attached together to form the 10 story High Rise. The entire building is a magnificent structure of steel and concrete, and completely fire proof. The huge round columns that are quite prominent everywhere, are steel and concrete. There are several hundred such columns, and they go down deep into the mountain sixty, one hundred, and more feet to insure how sturdy she is.
There was a concrete plant where you now see parking lot B, and huge cranes carried the finished products to the growing High Rise. In early 1983, and before the resort was completed, there were 240 condos already sold, and 80 units to be added, were still on the drawing board, and already one fourth of those had also been sold. Sixty percent of those who first bought condos, were from out of state, and half of them were from Florida, and seventeen percent were from South Carolina. Those purchases had all been made by mail, and most were to be investment properties.
As people first moved in, problems here and there showed up, and were taken care of immediately, by a 50 man crew on hand, 24 hours a day to take care of the unforeseen complaints, such as a window or two that cracked, and wind that blew in to the bathroom of one unit making an eerie sound. As in buying a brand new car, all the little bugs were removed, leaving Sugar Top, strong proud and secure.
Plans had been made for a restaurant, of coat and tie formality, along with a Grillroom for the casual eating, plus a deli for all hour snacks. Some of these ideas were started, but were not successful ventures. Even a small store for necessities and souvenirs were part of the plans.
What more could we want? That says it all. We, who live stay or visit Sugar Top, have a warm feeling with her, and appreciate the history of her growth. Just stand and look out your window, no matter which unit you are in. You will never see a more beautiful landscape to appreciate. It can take your breath away. You have to see her to understand and experience life here to appreciate Sugar Top.