Granby asks for court judgment in Rodeo Apartments dispute
Granby has asked a judge to decide whether a contract with the developer of the Rodeo Apartments has been properly terminated.
The dispute centers on a piece of town-owned land restricted to attainable housing that developer Unicume Colorado had planned to develop. Nearly five years after discussions began with Unicome, more than two years after the planned closing date on the property and over a year after Granby began withdrawing from agreements with Unicume, a judge will likely determine the outcome of the dispute.
Unicume’s attorney, Jack DiCola, did not respond to a request for comment, but the company’s answer to the complaint is due Feb. 11.
Granby owns a parcel of land between the Silvercreek Subdivision and the Flying Heels Rodeo that has been deed restricted for attainable housing. Around 2017, Unicume and the town began discussions about the attainable housing project known as Rodeo Apartments on part of that property.
According to court documents filed by the town on Dec. 28, Unicume proposed that the development would consist of five or six two-story apartment buildings with a total of 106 units accompanied with amenities including a clubhouse, spa, fitness center, playground and much more.
In March 2019, the town and Unicume entered into a contract to allow Unicume to acquire the property — valued at $1.2 million — at no cost in exchange for Unicume constructing the project. The contract also projected a closing date of June 5, 2019 unless both parties agreed to an earlier or later date.
According to the complaint filed by the town, Unicume made repeated representations to the town in 2018, 2019 and early 2020 that it would construct the Rodeo Apartments “in a manner that complied with the attainable housing covenant on the property.” This included renderings of the buildings and amenities, which were presented at town board meetings.
The town’s complaint says that in August 2020, Unicume told town staff that it would not proceed with that plan. Instead, according to the town-filed documents, Unicume was only willing to design and construct “a project that consisted of 54 small, box-like duplexes without the amenities (Unicume) had previously represented.”
The complaint claims that Unicume never sought or obtained the town’s approval for these major changes. Additionally, Unicume never closed on the property despite the passage of more than two years since the anticipated closing date of June 5, 2019.
In January 2021, the town notified Unicume the contract had been terminated and provided Unicume with a quitclaim deed to enable the town to move forward with other proposals for attainable housing projects on the property.
In October 2021, Granby’s town board agreed to pay $30,000 to exit the contract with Unicume, but Unicume did not accept the town’s offer. According to a spreadsheet provided to the town at the time, the developer said it had spent at least $159,451 toward developing the project.
Unicume has declined to execute the quitclaim deed, and so the town moved forward with legal proceedings to clear the title.
The town’s complaint asks the court to declare that the town has properly terminated the contract and that Unicume has no further interest in the property.
The contract between Unicume and Granby also states that in the event of litigation, the court will award the winning party all reasonable costs and expenses including attorney’s fees.
Granby’s town board and staff has begun referring to the Rodeo Apartments project as the US Highway 40 workforce housing project. In the last year, the town has purchased a parcel of land to provide highway access to the land, invested in sewer infrastructure and begun design work for a new workforce housing project on the same land with a separate group.
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