Aspen housing authority bucks up for repairs in embattled Burlingame house
Cost of work to be done in former owner’s deed-restricted house will be added to sales price
The Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority board agreed Wednesday to pay up to $200,000 in repairs to a $1 million deed-restricted Burlingame Ranch home that was occupied by the agency’s biggest foe, Lee Mulcahy.
The additional costs are to fix wear and tear items, as well as replace a double-pane window and deal with an unfinished concrete hot tub room that currently has standing water in it.
The cost of the work, which is currently estimated between $100,000 and $150,000 but could go higher, will be added to the maximum sales price so APCHA can be paid back.
That figure right now is estimated at $995,000 but that doesn’t account for the appreciation that Mulcahy acquired since he received a certificate of occupancy, APCHA Deputy Director Cindy Christensen told the board during its regular meeting Wednesday.
“We can add the appreciation back on, plus what we spend so we can even add more than (the maximum sales price),” she said.
APCHA interim executive director Diane Foster said even at $1.5 million, the property is a good deal.
“Having been in the property, it has some of the best views in town,” she said. “It’s a fabulous single-family home in a great location for quite a competitive price.”
The APCHA office has been fielding calls from people interested in the property ever since Mulcahy moved out in March, Foster said.
That was after nearly a six-year legal battle with APCHA, which was attempting a forced sale of the property when the agency found Mulcahy out of compliance with affordable housing employment guidelines that say he must work 1,500 hours a year in Pitkin County.
APCHA and Mulcahy reached a settlement last month that forgave $133,500 in attorney fees and fines.
It allowed APCHA to obtain clear title to the three-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot home located at 53 Forge Road in a city-developed subdivision across from Buttermilk Ski Area.
In exchange for the waiving of $48,500 in penalties due to Mulcahy refusing to leave the property after APCHA bought it in December and $85,000 in attorney fees, four lawsuits involving Mulcahy and the agency will be dropped.
A court-appointed receiver acting on behalf of a defiant Mulcahy closed on the property Dec. 8 and sold it to APCHA for $995,000, which was the maximum purchase price.
That money went into a court registry while the lawsuits winded through the courts.
At the time of the settlement, after court ordered disbursements, there was $903,228 being held in the registry, which consisted of $19,774 in appeal bonds posted by Mulcahy and $883,454 in proceeds from APCHA’s purchase of the property.
APCHA hired a professional inspector to survey the home, which will be required prior to listing a property in the agency’s inventory starting on Aug. 1.
That was a change to APCHA’s regulations that the board approved on Wednesday during a public hearing.
APCHA will issue a request for qualifications to develop a pool of inspectors APCHA can assign on a rotating basis.
“APCHA will pay for the inspection, APCHA will maintain a copy of the report, and this inspection is for determining compliance with the minimum livability and life safety standards,” said Bethany Spitz, compliance manager for APCHA.
The addition to the regulations is part of APCHA’s recent efforts to make seller standards more robust and manage the condition of aging deed-restricted ownership units so buyers aren’t saddled with expensive repairs.
Board members spent almost two hours on Wednesday discussing a new program for seller standards.
Sofía Rocha, a composition student at the Aspen Music Festival and School, earned the 2022 Hermitage Prize in Composition this past weekend at the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Florida.
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