Delays over for Avon condos? |

Delays over for Avon condos?

Cliff Thompson
Bret Hartman / Vail DailyConstruction at the Gates just east of the Beaver Creek roundabout is supposed to begin in early February.

AVON – With final development approvals from the town of Avon in hand, the new developers of the Gates complex near the Beaver Creek roundabout say construction on the long-delayed project will begin early next month.Construction had been expected to begin as early as last fall, but a change in the number of residences in the condominium complex wasn’t approved until last week. That revision increased the number of residential units from 46 to 49, said Tim Barton of Dallas-based JMJ which is developing the project.”Everything’s moving forward,” he said, adding that final approval from the town was secured last week.The project has had a checkered past since it was first proposed in 1997. It encountered financial difficulties not long after that. Who owns what and what is owed to whom is still being sorted out in the courts.One more filingOne of the early investors in the project, Richard Mark of Malibu, Calif., is suing the new owners, and some of the old, for $100,000. Barton said his group has posted a bond to cover the potential encumbrance to the property’s title.Lawsuits can make it difficult or impossible for developers to borrow funds to build their projects by encumbering title to the land that lending institutions use as security for loans. But in this instance, JMJ has posted a bond designed to cover any liability a lender might encounter, he said.

“It’s no major issue for us,” Barton said. “He wants all the default interest. It’s just a question of how much. We’re in the process of cleaning it up.”Barton’s development group has a lender ready to release funds but confidentiality requirements bar him from naming the lender until the loan is made final, he said.A decision on Mark’s claim is pending in Eagle District Court before Judge Tom Moorhead.Documents from the county recorder’s office show Mark wants to be paid $100,000 and interest he says he is owed by the owners of the as-yet undeveloped Gates. He holds a deed of trust, and is asking the court, if he’s not paid, to foreclose on the property, which is owned by CSC Land, LLC, and located just east of the entrance to Beaver Creek on Highway 6.Mark’s deed of trust was filed Oct. 8, 2001, and the foreclosure was filed with the court May 8, 2004. He claims he has an 8 percent stake in the property. Long history It’s another litigious chapter in what has been a thick book on the project formerly known as Chateau St. Clair, later the Geneva Crown Club and now The Gates. It was first proposed more than seven years ago and got as far as excavation before encountering financial difficulties. Local wags called the on-again, off-again project “Chateau Ain’t There.”

It received additional infusions of cash and had a brief resurgence two years ago as the Geneva Crown Club, but construction got no farther than excavation.In August, a September construction start was anticipated, but that was delayed until December. Now construction is expected to begin in early February, Barton said.Mark’s attorney Robert Reed of Denver, said the foreclosure consists of two separate claims, one for payment or one for an equity stake in the project.”I think Richard is owed the money. He made a loan as evidenced by a promissory note and deed of trust. He has not been paid,” Reed said. “He has right of first refusal that has not been given to him so he has that right or alternatively his right to an 8 percent profit interest.”JMJ did indeed attempt to pay Mark, Barton said, but the two parties could not reach agreement.Vail Colorado

Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 450, or, Colorado

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