Cordillera property owners lose again; fourth loss in five courtrooms trying to stop luxury rehab, wellness center
December 7, 2018
DENVER — Cordillera property owners were handed their fourth loss in five courtrooms, the latest a ruling that Eagle County's commissioners were correct when they approved a rehab and wellness center.
Last week's ruling rejects an argument by the Cordillera Property Owners Association and four homeowners that the commissioners overstepped their authority when they approved the luxury rehab and wellness center.
Four losses, five courtrooms
Cordillera's challenges have now failed in four different cases and in five different courtrooms — the Colorado federal district court, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, twice in Eagle County District Court and the recent ruling from the Colorado Court of Appeals.
"We continue to believe the commissioners made the correct and only possible decision based on the plain language of the Cordillera PUD," Bryan Treu, Eagle County attorney said. "We respect the property owners' rights to disagree but now look forward to putting this dispute to rest and seeing the former lodge operate as a world class addiction treatment amenity commensurate with the high standards of the Cordillera community."
The Cordillera treatment center for those suffering from drug and alcohol addictions is a use by right under existing zoning, said Sarah Baker, attorney for All Points North Capital, the facility's owner and operator.
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Baker said the Colorado Court of Appeals ruling is "simple and uncomplicated."
"It is even more apparent that the Cordillera community's expensive — and entirely unsuccessful — legal strategy to prevent the treatment center from opening in their neighborhood has always been misguided," Baker said.
After Thursday's ruling, Baker said she hopes the Cordillera homeowners will abandon their legal opposition.
"We hope that the Cordillera homeowners will now finally accept the futility of further opposition," Baker said.
Cordillera officials said they had mixed feelings about the Court of Appeals ruling.
"The Cordillera Property Owners Association is obviously disappointed in the opinion issued by the Court of Appeals and disagrees with several of its conclusions," said Rachel Oys, general manager of the Cordillera Property Owners Association and the Cordillera Metro District. "However, we are pleased the Court of Appeals confirmed inpatient uses are not allowed. The opinion also recognized future enforcement actions may be pursued if (Concerted Care Group's) actual use of the facility violates the PUD."
All Points North Lodge
When it is built, All Points North Lodge will be an integrated behavioral health, wellness and addiction recovery program located at the site of the former Lodge & Spa at Cordillera.
The program's owners and operators, APN Capital, expect to spend $136 million on the project. The first phase is expected to cost $20 million, the company said.
Along with helping people recover from addiction, APN Capital will also develop "transformative health technologies" to enhance the recovery process, Noah Nordheimer, founder and managing principal of APN Capital said.
Whole lot of lawyering
Texas-based Behringer Harvard sold The Lodge & Spa at Cordillera to Nordheimer's Concerted Care Group and CSNM LLC, the development group that will convert The Lodge into a rehab center. After shopping The Lodge around for three years, the Concerted Care Group was the only serious prospect, according to court documents.
Behringer Harvard is suing four individual homeowners for malicious prosecution and abuse of process, for trying to stop the sale.
In February 2017, Federal District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson threw out Cordillera's $100 million class-action lawsuit and refused to delay the sale of The Lodge. The sale closed in August 2017.
On Sept. 15, 2017, Eagle County District Court Judge Paul Dunkelman ruled that the Eagle County commissioners were correct when they unanimously gave Nordheimer the green light to convert and renovate The Lodge & Spa at Cordillera.
In October 2017, Nordheimer and his partners struck back, suing in U.S. District Court under the federal Americans With Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act, claiming that the Cordillera Metro District, the Cordillera Property Owners Association and several individuals were discriminating against the addicted.
In his March 16, 2018, ruling, District Court Judge Fred Gannett pointed out that Cordillera's numerous legal actions have one thing in common.
"Every one of these legal challenges was unsuccessful," Gannett said in his ruling, barring them from suing again on the same grounds.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and email@example.com.