Developers of the Residences at Little Nell settled a lawsuit brought by nearby homeowners who claimed their property was damaged during the construction process, while a similar case brought by another neighbor is set for trial in January.
Preston and Betty Henn of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. sued the Residences in 2009, alleging their home, located just up the hill from the luxury fractional ownership project on Aspen Mountain, suffered serious damage due to construction. The issues were tied to an 80-foot-deep hole contractors dug for the project, and a retaining wall built to shore up the slope. The Henns’ suit claims that drywall, a fireplace and door and window frames in their home were damaged “as a result of [the Residences’] demolition and excavation activities.”
The suit was settled in May for an undisclosed amount.
“It was a settlement that involved money, that’s all I can tell you,” said Aspen attorney Matthew Ferguson, who represents the Henns, citing a confidentiality agreement attached to the settlement.
The Henns had also sued the city of Aspen, claiming that the building department shouldn’t have issued the project a certificate of occupancy when it did. That case is in the process of being dismissed, said Aspen City Attorney Jim True.
Issues with the retaining wall caused the city to force a work stoppage on the project mid-construction.
The 26-unit Residences opened in 2009, and broke records for some of the most expensive fractional ownership/timeshare sales of all time. One four-week interest on a three bedroom condo closed for $3.8 million. However, as the recession hit, many prospective buyers brought lawsuits seeking to get out of their purchase contracts.
Westpac Aspen Investments, tied to former Related Westpac President Pat Smith, owner of a neighboring property uphill from the Residences, filed a similar lawsuit to the Henns. That case is still pending and is set for trail in early January.
That trial date has been pushed back twice due to scheduling conflicts with the district court, said Bob Hoover, attorney for Smith. Meanwhile, mediations between the developers and Smith have been ongoing, Hoover said.
“Anything can happen between now and the trial date, but as it stands now, we haven’t been able to resolve the differences,” he said.