Delays dog Frisco’s South End Village
FRISCO – The waiting is almost over for Tim Sabo. The Frisco resident finally received his Certificate of Occupancy (CO) Friday, nearly a year after he signed a pre-construction contract to buy a unit in the town’s South End Village affordable housing development.Sabo hopes to close on the two-bedroom duplex on Belford Street near Eighth Avenue next week, ending months of frustration and delay after delay.”When we signed our contract, the original finish date was October 5,” he said. “I’ve never seen a project run like this.”Although Sabo sold his previous condo in February with the expectation that he’d soon move into his new home, he was fortunate to be able to rent the condo back from its new owners on a month-to-month basis.Future South End Village resident Jenny Harris was not so lucky. After selling her previous home last December, she and her 14-year-old daughter have been staying at a friend’s condo in Keystone. Last July, when she won the lottery for the opportunity to buy a deed-restricted unit in South End Village for $185,000, she signed a contract that listed October as the projected completion date. Nothing went according to plan, however.Harris needed to sell her current home in order to close on the new unit. The developer assured her she would be in her new place before Christmas.”Around the end of October, I was told December 15 was the drop dead date,” she said. Harris sold her condo, only to discover she had nowhere to live.
“I was freaking out,” she said. “It was December. It was a nightmare.”Luckily, Harris and her daughter were able to stay at her old condo until January, and then sublet week-to-week from her friend in Keystone.”All my stuff’s in storage,” she said. “It’s been a horrible thing. Since December, the developer has sent out vague e-mails. It wouldn’t have been a big deal for me had I known it would take this long.”Last May, Frisco agreed to transfer the town land, valued at $1.1 million, to Front Range developer Henry Burgwyn on the condition he construct eight deed-restricted and two market units on the site. At the time, Burgwyn’s then-partner, Rob Dick, said he hoped the units would be ready for occupancy at the end of last summer. As of Friday, three of the 10 units in the development have received Certificates of Occupancy, and of those, only one is occupied.Burgwyn did not return repeated calls but Dillon contractor Corky Woodring was at the site Friday. He said he was helping Burgwyn resolve some of the development’s remaining problems.”It’s been a series of unfortunate events,” he said, when asked about the long delay. “There’s been a couple of mistakes at the factory level that have just ballooned.” The components of the project’s structures were prebuilt by Barvista Homes, a manufactured housing company based in the Front Range. According to Barvista’s website, the advantage of manufactured housing is that it can be built more quickly than traditional construction. The components are fabricated according to the developer’s specifications, shipped to the site and the developer is then responsible for final assembly and add-ons, such as sheds and porches.
Inadequate roof snow-load rating was one problem with the manufactured homes that came to the town’s attention.”When we went out to do inspections on the porches (six weeks ago), we discovered there was only a 60 pound snow-load,” Frisco community development director Mark Gage said. The town requires an 80 pound rating for buildings within the town limits.Barvista president Mick Barker said his company delivered what was requested from Burgwyn.”We build to whatever snow-load is ordered,” he said. When informed of the need for more roof bracing, Barvista’s engineering department designed a fix, he added.Woodring said he became involved in the project several months into it and discovered numerous problems.”We tried to get COs by the end of January,” he said. “But water lines were frozen, and then we found out they’d installed the wrong water stops.” Woodring also cited other problems such as bad weather and unexpected personnel changes.”It’s just been a long epic,” he said.
As recently as Friday, workers were digging trenches along the street in front of the homes because, according to Woodring, no telephone wire conduits had been laid when the original site work was done.Frisco’s Gage said he was confident the structural requirements were being met.”We’ve been giving the COs one at a time as they make these fixes,” he said. According to the town’s agreement with Burgwyn, the developer has until May 2008 to complete the project, Gage added. The exterior siding is still not completed on Jenny Harris’ condo, and work continues inside. Harris said she’d been given a CO date of May 24 by the developer, but she’s not holding her breath.”It still doesn’t look done to me,” she said. “I’ve been looking for something else since December, but you can’t get anything in the county for that price. That’s the only reason why I’m hanging on.”Harriet Hamilton can be reached at (970) 668-4628, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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