Effort to undo long-standing agreements at Granby Ranch irks homeowners
Granby Ranch’s new owner is undoing the series of agreements with homeowners related to the ski and golf area.
In a letter signed by GP Granby Holdings, the company explained that certain agreements would no longer stand and briefly outlined its plans, including an intention to open for the ski season.
The letter sent to homeowners Wednesday asserted that a lease purchase agreement with Headwaters Metropolitan District had been terminated at the time of the foreclosure last month.
GP Granby Holdings is an affiliate of Granby Ranch’s former lender, Granby Prentice. GP Granby Holdings recently purchased the five deeds of trust associated with Granby Ranch’s foreclosure, including the ski and golf resort.
No representative of the companies could be reached for comment.
Since 2006, Headwaters has leased the ski and golf areas through a lease purchase agreement. Rent was paid through amenity fees with the intention of Headwaters purchasing the property by 2062.
Property owners in Granby Ranch paid a one-time $10,000 fee when they purchased their home, which entitles them to priority access and special pricing on ski and golf amenities. This pool of fees, estimated by residents in Granby Ranch to equal millions of dollars, was to be used by Headwaters to finance the eventual purchase of the amenities.
In the letter, GP Granby Holdings said this agreement was a deterrent to prospective purchasers, asserting that multiple prospective buyers lost interest in Granby Ranch because of this structure.
The company went on to claim that the agreement has created undo burdens on Headwaters. The letter stated that the metro district would “never” have been able to pay off and acquire the assets before 2062.
“The (lease purchase agreement and amenity fee) structure and benefits plan put the operating amenities … in an unsustainable financial position that ultimately failed,” the letter said.
Residents like 14-year homeowner Glenn O’Flaherty felt disheartened by the communication, which he said implies that the homeowners’ money long financed a system that the lender — now current owner — sees as unfeasible.
“In my way of thinking, then all along that was an illusory agreement,” O’Flaherty said. “It was never going to be attainable, and as such, as homeowners, we were paying on a lease purchase agreement that was never going to be fulfilled.”
The company made it clear in the letter that it wants to consolidate and simplify the deep entrenchment between Granby Ranch and the homeowners. GP Granby Holdings added that the amenity fee agreement is no longer in effect.
GP Granby Holdings also said it intends to modify the amenity plans to benefit Granby Ranch members within a “financially feasible framework” to increase the value of Granby Ranch and therefore the homes in the subdivision.
While O’Flaherty agreed this move would likely increase home values, for the homeowners in Granby Ranch paying the highest real estate taxes in the county, this means they will likely pay more taxes while receiving fewer benefits.
“At least under the old scenario, we presumably as the homeowners … would someday own the ski and golf course,” O’Flaherty said. “Well that’s gone now. What value have we created for ourselves? None.”
The letter explained that Touchstone Golf will continue operating the golf course through the end of the season and Winter Park Flyfisher will administer the seasonal fishing program.
The company also said that it has agreed to engage Ridgeline Executive Group to manage mountain resources for the upcoming ski season, pandemic permitting.
GP Granby Holdings asserted that the company is investing “significant financial resources” into the ski season, though the letter did not go into specifics about those investments.
Headwaters, which previously arranged the management agreement for Granby Ranch, has not held a meeting since May, so Headwaters has not approved a management contract with Ridgeline.
However, with the lease purchase agreement negated, it seems the metro district may not be needed to establish a contract with the management group.
The letter mentioned that GP Granby Holdings will also be working with Granby to resolve zoning and subdivision improvement concerns. The Granby Board of Trustees has been pushing for millions of dollars worth of required road repairs since the former owner of Granby Ranch, Marise Cipriani, announced the subdivision would be going back to the lender last December.
Exactly who is behind GP Granby Holdings and Granby Prentice remains unclear. The two companies list the same California address that is also the address for Pacific Coast Capital Partners, a commercial real estate debt and equity capital manager.
The note announcing the cancellation of the lease purchase agreement was the first communication homeowners in Granby Ranch have received from the new owner.
O’Flaherty characterized the letter as a lack of transparency combined with an apparent apathy toward the investments of residents. But it’s a familiar tune, he said, referencing long-standing frustrations with the previous ownership.
“We’ve lived with that for years. We’ve been to this rodeo before,” he said. “If this is an indication of how they plan on interacting with homeowners, we don’t need it.”
The letter sent to homeowners via the Granby Ranch member email list left no information to reach GP Granby Holdings. The Sky-Hi News attempted obtain a phone number or email for the company via emails to Pacific Coast Capital Partners and Headwaters Metro District President Lance Badger but has not received a reply.
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