Viceroy Snowmass can now rent all of its inventory
December 15, 2010
SNOWMASS VILLAGE – There will be substantially more room at the inn now and into the future as the receiver of the Base Village properties has determined that the disputed condominiums at the Viceroy Snowmass should be placed in the rental inventory.
“The lawsuits are still out there. They’re not going to go away overnight,” said Jim DeFrancia of Lowe Enterprises, the court-appointed receiver for the foreclosed properties in Base Village.
DeFrancia, essentially the manager of Base Village until a foreclosure sale is held, said Tuesday that the action of recording the condominium plats shows the purchasers now have clear title of the properties (something that hadn’t been determined until last month).
“We’ve done our obligations under the contract. We said, ‘We’re giving you notice.’ Now the buyer needs to close.”
“This is great news for us,” said the manager of the Viceroy, Hugh Templeman, after hearing of confirmation directly from the receiver.
This will add about 80 rooms to the property that since opening day has had just 98 rooms at its disposal, he said. The hotel is almost full in this run-up to Christmas and will be sold out once again in early January.
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Less thrilled about the proceedings is local attorney Matt Ferguson. He is representing 62 of the units whose owners had attempted to get out of their contracts for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the developers’ failure to record the official condominium plat.
Ferguson said he took umbrage at the “letters to [his] clients pretending that the seller is right … That’s a pretty cute move. We know they never did want to close,” Ferguson said. He accused the receiver of “having it both ways,” as the purchasers’ deposits are still being held while the units could potentially be rented.
He was planning on filing what is known as “lis pendens,” Latin for “litigation pending.”
“To file a map to create this pretext created a very expensive ploy. Maybe someone in Dusseldorf [Germany] knows more about real estate than us in Aspen,” Ferguson said.
The receiver disagrees. “This is good news for the community, good for the economy,” said DeFrancia about the released rooms and the potential sales tax revenues.
The issue has gotten to a breaking point for a number of reasons: When financing for Base Village fell apart in 2008, contract owners who had committed to top dollar for the units had tried to negotiate more favorable sales prices and/or tried to break the contracts. One bit of ammunition they had was a federal consumer protection law (ILSA) that gave them the ability to break their contracts should the plats not be filed by a certain time.
In related news, DeFrancia also announced that the foreclosure auction that was originally scheduled for Wednesday has been rescheduled for Jan. 26. This is the second postponement and one that DeFrancia said was prompted by some unsettled mechanical liens in Base Village. He believes this will be the final delay before the properties are auctioned to the highest bidder.