Business Monday: Little Cloud home project, listed for $31.5 million, in litigation
Construction on an Aspen spec home with an asking price of $31.5 million remains unfinished after the project has lingered on for more than 3 1/2 years without completion, and a lawsuit filed earlier this month casts the blame on the general contractor.
Naples, Florida-based Little Cloud Estate LLC is the developer of the 10,681-square-foot home located at 19 Little Cloud Trail and rested slightly above the Midland Trail at the foot of Shadow Mountain.
As the plaintiff in the lawsuit, Little Cloud Estate alleges that the general contractor, Williams & Rowe, “was unable to deliver upon its promises and was unable to complete construction of the single-family home on time and within budget,” the suit alleges.
Little Cloud’s principal is Thomas E. Lewis, who bought two undeveloped lots on Little Cloud Trail for $3 million each in January 2008, property records show.
Lewis’ prior business history with Williams & Rowe included the development of a shopping center in Florida, which led to their teaming up on the Little Cloud project, the suit said.
In August 2015, Little Cloud agreed to pay $6.195 million to Williams & Rowe for its services. The deal also included the contractor’s agreeing to finish the project by Aug. 12, 2016.
The project, however, has been hampered by workers walking off the job in the first year of construction, a constant changing of project managers, subcontractors quitting and out-of-sequence work, the suit contends.
“The constant changing and replacement of subcontractors that would either leave the project or simply not show up led to another issue, namely W&R refused to keep Little Cloud informed of which subcontractors it was using despite its obligation to do so,” the suit says.
When it became clear the project would not be finished on time, the parties agreed in May 2016 to extend the deadline until Oct. 12, 2016.
Again, the deadline was not met, while parties met over the ensuing months yet construction was marred by mismanagement and construction defects, some of which were covered up, the suit alleges.
Williams & Rowe, through communications with Little Cloud, said adverse weather delayed the project, and it also filed a mechanic’s lien against the developer for not being paid in full.
The suit claims the lien, filed in January with an asking sum of $738,762, is fraudulent and was made to cloud the title to the property. The lien makes it “as difficult as possible for Little Cloud to sell the property,” the suit says.
Messages left Friday with Williams & Rowe did not receive a response. Chris Brophy of the Denver firm Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, which filed the suit, also could not be reached.
The lawsuit was filed March 7 in Pitkin County District Court.