The promoter of the Rodeo Apartments maintains that it is Granby’s fault if the project never progressed.
Developer Unicume Colorado has responded to Granby’s attempt to deny the developer’s claims to a city-owned accessible housing parcel. Unicume’s response indicates that the city did not issue a clear title to the property, which forced the developer to move from apartments to one-story dwellings with the city’s awareness and encouragement.
In a counterclaim, Unicume also claimed that the developer is in fact entitled to damages for the time and money invested in the project.
Granby has land between the Flying Heels Arena and the Silversage subdivision that has been restricted to accessible workforce housing. At least five years ago, the city began working with Unicume on a 106-unit attainable housing project, consisting of five or six two-story apartment buildings known as Rodeo Apartments.
According to the city’s lawsuit, filed Dec. 28, Unicume and the city entered into an agreement with the intent to transfer the $1.2 million property at no cost to Unicume in exchange for the construction of this project in March 2019. The expected closing date was June 5, 2019, but the developer never closed.
According to Granby, after the developer came back with a new proposal in 2020 — one with fewer units and none of the amenities originally promised — the city began to back out of the deals.
Unicume refused to execute a waiver of that contract, which would allow the city to move forward with other feasible housing project proposals on the property. Granby asked the court to decide whether the contract was properly terminated.
According to the response filed Thursday by Unicume, the developer was never able to close on the property because the city failed to provide proper title. According to Unicume court documents, the property was subject to the deed of trust used to secure a 2005 loan to the Granby Ranch – which was foreclosed in early 2020.
It was not immediately clear how the deed of trust would affect the land that the former developer of Granby Ranch had given to the city through a special deed of guarantee in 2008. Foreclosure proceedings at Granby Ranch did not started only about six months after the planned closing date. between the parties.
In court documents, Unicume argues that because the city did not issue a clear title, the developer was unable to secure a loan from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Unicume’s response goes on to say that without this funding, coupled with rising construction costs and continued opposition from the Silversage neighborhood, the concept plan for the development was changed in early 2020 to a one-story neighborhood concept. .
According to Unciume court documents, this was done with full disclosure to the city.
The homes – which the city described as “small, box-like duplexes” in its complaint – were described in Unicume’s response as “modular” to better manage costs. Unicume’s response added that the city council had previously approved a similar but separate modular housing project.
“Unicume has spent considerable time and money redesigning the project into a single-story neighborhood concept with the prior knowledge, encouragement, input and consent of the city, including multiple meetings and correspondence with staff,” the response said, “and the proposed new project design was acceptable until the city unilaterally and without notice or discussion refused approval of the one-story neighborhood concept.
The city argues in its complaint that Unicume never sought or obtained Granby’s approval for the redesign.
Granby’s complaint also stated that Unicume failed to complete the sale, but Unicume denied this allegation, arguing that it was in fact the city that refused to complete the sale.
According to the response, Unicume does not believe that the developer breached its contract because the city represented to Unicume that it could deliver the title deed in a timely manner. Unicume argues that the city did not properly terminate the contract.
Unicume also said in court papers that the city failed to pay the developer the $30,000 to terminate as stated in the contract. The city council agreed to pay this exit fee at an October 26 meeting in exchange for lot-related documents and materials, but Unicume did not accept the offer.
The counterclaim goes on to point out another part of the contract between the city and Unicume that allows for a recovery of damages if the city is in default.
The counterclaim details some of the expenses Unicume incurred on this property, stating that the developer paid over $150,000 for architectural, engineering, acquisition of easements and financing efforts to various entities, and arguing that the promoter is entitled to damages and damages.
The contract between the two parties also states that in the event of a dispute, the prevailing party will be awarded all reasonable costs and expenses, including attorneys’ fees.
No hearing date has yet been set, with Granby asking the court to declare that Unicume no longer has an interest in the property, while Unicume asks the court to dismiss these claims and award additional relief. as the court decides.
The Granby City Council has begun moving forward with other plans for the parcel, currently calling it the U.S. Highway 40 Workforce Housing Project. The city has invested in sewer infrastructure, purchased a parcel of land to provide road access to the parcel, and is currently working with a group on a new design for an affordable housing project.