Work stops on troubled Avon project
AVON- Contractors stopped working on the Gates at Avon Monday, saying off the record they haven’t been paid for some of the foundation work on the $50 million condominium and time-share building.None of the principals are talking about what happened, but work has stopped and contractors and subcontractors are conspicuous by their absence. It’s the third time construction has started and stopped on the project since 1997, when the project was called Chateau St. Clair.Avon officials say unless work on the project resumes by Aug. 11, it will lose its building permit, zoning and other elements of the development agreement with the town.”We’re recommending there be strict adherence to the development agreement’s progress schedule,” Town Manager Larry Brooks said. “We’ve had a history of troubled projects in the past. Our citizens deserve better treatment than that.”Brooks said contractors told him funding on the project has been “frozen.” “They won’t be doing anything for up to 40 days,” he said. “That’s the rumor.”Work on the project has started and stopped several times since 1997 prompting local wags to label it “Chateau Ain’t There” and “Chateau No Go.”In December the Avon Council extended for six months a building permit that had expired. It also accepted a $250,000 deposit from JMJ Developers and CSC Land of Dallas, Rotterdam and Monterey Calif. as a means of ensuring work on the project would be completed. A portion of that, $60,000 was refunded by the town when the developer met one of the objectives, said Brooks.At that time JMJ’s Tim Barton told Avon Council members that he knew building the troubled project would be difficult but that his company, “had never failed in our commitment.”Foundation work on the site, just east of the Beaver Creek roundabout on Highway 6, is partially complete. Development plans called for 49 luxury residences, several time-share units, a library and spa in the five-story building.JMJ acquired the property in March 2004, and spent several months acquiring clear title to the property. Excavation and concrete work began last winter.General contractor Colorado First Construction declined to comment on the situation and calls to Barton, who is reportedly out of the country, were not returned. A call to Cal Rossi, an investor, also was not returned. More than 20 years ago Avon encountered a similar situation with the building that is now known as the Seasons. Construction that building, originally called the Peregrine, started and stopped several times, too. It was finally completed 10 years after construction initially began and now houses the corporate headquarters for Vail Resorts, several other businesses and has apartments on its upper levels.Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colo.