Aspen Luxury Project Faces Lawsuit Heat
There's some big trouble going on at The Residences at The Little Nell project in Aspen, Colorado. The Aspen Times reports that two more buyers in the pricey ski resort project have filed lawsuits to try to get out of their contracts. That brings the total to eight buyers with contracts for 10 fractional ownership interests in the project trying to get out and get their money back. The Residences at The Little Nell is a fractional condo project managed by the Aspen Skiing Co.'s acclaimed Little Nell Hotel. The latest lawsuits come from PFW Inc., a Fort Worth, Texas, corporation, and Retreat Properties Inc., an Alaskan limited liability company. The PFW lawsuit said the corporation's president and sole shareholder, Ivan Jack Miller, entered a contract in December 2006 to purchase a one-eighth interest in a four-bedroom condo and deposited $450,000. But the PFW lawsuit claims that the developers didn't obtain a full certificate of occupancy in time to comply with the contract. The city of Aspen has issued a conditional certificate of occupancy for the luxury condos which lets people live in the units but doesn't allow use of areas like a roof-top pool and spa, courtyard spaces, patios or a restaurant and dining terrace because those amenities aren't complete yet. Does this make it uninhabitable? The PFW lawsuit alleges that it does. The lawsuit by Retreat Properties asks for a refund of $270,000, a deposit on a three-bedroom condo.
The Residences at Little Nell has eight fractional slices per each of its 26 condos for a total of 208 shares. They start at $1 million each for a three-bedroom unit and are nearly sold out. The four-bedroom shares ranged in price from $1.25 million to $3 million and are sold out. It is unknown if some of the motivation behind the lawsuits is the desire to get out of real estate deals made in a more sanguine market.
The project has been plagued with construction delays. It was set to open this summer but had to pull some fancy footwork just to jet that conditional certificate of occupancy on November 30. The first owners will be able to stay in the units in February and the restaurant and retail areas are scheduled to open later in the year.