Fractional project damages neighboring homes
Construction of the ultraexpensive Residences at Little Nell has damaged two homes in a neighboring subdivision.Since work has started on the fractional residences project, the two houses have had foundation problems that have, for instance, made windows difficult to close.According to the city of Aspen’s chief building officer, Steven Kanipe, there have been structural problems with the massive retaining wall immediately beneath the two multimillion-dollar homes. The wall has reportedly slipped, causing the problems with the homes. “There was some movement in the houses,” Kanipe said. “We don’t see the possibility of a catastrophic failure [in the retaining wall],” he added.The homes, part of a subdivision known as Tipple Woods, are two of the best-placed in Aspen, sitting just up Aspen Mountain from the Silver Queen Gondola. They are visible above the large construction hole at The Residences at Little Nell.The homes, roughly 3,500 square feet each, at 660 and 714 S. Galena St., are valued at between $4.1 million and $4.3 million, according to the county assessor.Kanipe said his office does regular checks now to make sure the basic systems in the houses – water, sewage, sprinkler systems – are undamaged and operational.Westpac Aspen Investment LLC, a real estate group based in San Luis Obispo, Calif., owns one of the properties. Betty and Preston Henn, a couple from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., own the other house.The owners of the homes could not be reached for comment. The developers say they are dealing with the issue, and Kanipe also said the developers are acting with transparency. “We’ve gone in and repaired [the homes],” said John Sarpa, one of the developers. “We took the necessary remedial actions in construction below there to address problems that might come up in the future. We have shored that wall in a very secure way, far more secure than you might otherwise design.” Contractors have also dealt with other complaints. For instance, gravel sprayed on the west side of the construction side damaged siding and landscaping at nearby homes. Jack Donovan, a partner with Steeplechase, a project management and development firm working on The Residences at Little Nell, said Steeplechase has worked to mitigate problems from construction.”We’ve been proactive,” Sarpa said. “We’re constructing a very large building on the side of a mountain.” The Residences at Little Nell are a $380 million development in what was nearly a city block at the base of Aspen Mountain. The 26 residences (19 three-bedroom and seven four-bedroom) are selling for prices unheard of in the fractional industry. A one-eighth share of a three-bedroom condo goes for $1.37 million, and a one-eighth share for a four-bedroom unit is up to $2.25 million. Fractional sales have already passed the halfway point, though construction will not be finished until the 2007-08 ski season. Joel Stonington’s e-mail is email@example.com
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