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Fate of Ironbridge affordable housing units in court’s hands

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Garfield County will not try to formally intervene in the federal bankruptcy case that will dictate the fate of 20 deed-restricted affordable housing units at the Ironbridge subdivision south of Glenwood Springs.

Some of the qualified would-be buyers who were selected in a lottery for 10 of the units last fall appeared before the county commissioners recently asking for help.

“They were asking us to help move it along,” Commission Chairman John Martin said. “It’s all in the hands of the courts now, and there’s really not much we could do.”

Several of the buyers had been scheduled to close on their units in late February. However, LB Rose Ranch LLC, a subsidiary of the bankrupt Lehman Brothers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York on Feb. 9.

LB Rose is the company that’s building the 20 affordable housing units at Ironbridge, many of which are finished and ready to be occupied. It’s also building more than 100 free-market houses in the larger development.

The company skirted the initial Lehman Brothers bankruptcy last fall. The February filing asks to be consolidated with the larger Lehman Brothers case.

That had raised concerns that the deed restrictions on the 20 affordable housing units, required by Garfield County as part of the Ironbridge subdivision approval, could be in jeopardy.

But Garfield County Housing Authority Executive Director Geneva Powell said Wednesday she’s confident the deed restrictions will stand.

“It’s just one of those sad situations where you have a developer who had good intentions, but unfortunately they went defunct,” she said. “But I don’t have any reason to believe we will lose these as deed-restricted units.”

Powell said she understands the frustration on the part of the families who are ready to move in. But it’s also important to make sure everything goes through the legal process so there’s no cloud over the titles once the houses do sell, she said.

Some of the initial 10 buyers selection in a Sept. 9, 2008 lottery have since dropped out, either because other housing options came up or their work situations changed. But there were another 11 prospective buyers on the wait list.

“I still feel comfortable we’ll have 10 buyers when those units are released,” Powell said. A lottery for the second 10 houses is on hold.

Some applicants in the Ironbridge pool have also entered an upcoming lottery for a two-bedroom, two bath affordable housing unit that came up for resale at the Blue Creek subdivision near Carbondale, she said. That lottery takes place April 8.


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