Extensive repair project nears an end at Terraces condo complex
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. ” A half-decade struggle to rectify foundation-related problems at the Terraces condominium complex in Glenwood Springs is reaching its end.
Greg Hall, a condo owner and attorney for the 104 units’ condo association board, said about 98 percent of the remediation work there has been completed.
He said about eight units still need some support work done on roof trusses. And there’s some other minor work remaining, such as paving.
“But other than that it’s pretty much done,” he said.
The city began to investigate structural problems with the Terraces in August 2002 after a resident notified it of problems with one of the buildings, located on Midland Avenue. Settling in the foundation caused cracks in walls, uneven door frames, stressing of roof trusses and other problems in some buildings. The city barred occupancy of one of the 12 condo buildings, and a bank foreclosed on 24 units that were still in the hands of developer Jay Harkins.
The condo association sued Harkins and others involved with the project, and won a mid-trial settlement of nearly $12 million in April 2005. After expenses such as fees for attorneys and expert witnesses were paid, the association had about $8 million to use for repairs.
Remediation work began later in 2005 when a company specializing in compaction grouting was hired. It drilled holes down to load-bearing geological formations and pumped in grout beneath all the buildings to shore up the foundations.
Remediation crews focused first on the foundation work, and then on repairing trusses along with cosmetic interior problems caused by settling.
“The trusses seemed to take quite a bit of time,” Hall said. “The more they looked at it, the more sort of permutations as to the types and levels of problems and the necessary fixes.”
The condo association worked in cooperation with Glenwood Condos LLC, which bought the 24 condos that had been in foreclosure. Its partners include Terry Claassen and Mike Elkins, who now are proposing a condo/hotel/conference center across the street at the old Sunlight Racquet Club site.
Hall said Glenwood Condos has since sold all of its condos and is out of the project. Those condos sold “probably a lot quicker than anyone imagined,” said Hall, who thinks Terraces condos have rebounded in value since the problems there have been fixed.
Hall feels confident in the foundation repairs, noting that they came with a five-year warranty. Engineers will take occasional measurements to make sure further shifting doesn’t occur.
The Terraces were built at the base of Red Mountain, on a geological formation called an alluvial fan. Soils there are prone to compacting when they become wet. Hall said that led to a misperception about the site’s buildability, even though there are other buildings in the vicinity.
“I remember hearing a lot of comments that that site should never have built on, but it was pretty clear based on all the experts at trial that the site was fine,” he said.
Hall said that besides the original foundation being improperly designed, other problems, such as poor site drainage, contributed to the settling.
Hall said the condo association was dealing with a tight budget but managed to get the major problems fixed and even pay for some other things such as repainting the exterior of the Terraces buildings.
Money also was used for purposes such as temporarily relocating people while repairs were made. But Hall said some expenses couldn’t be reimbursed, such as landlords’ lost rent. And there is no way to compensate for general difficulties and inconveniences residents have experienced.
“Unfortunately people are not ever going to be completely compensated. The only healer is time. Presumably if the (condos’) market value is back to where it should be, I guess that’s a reward that everybody gets,” he said.
“I don’t think you can ever quantify completely the damages that people had.”
One expense consisted of temporarily higher heating bills. Hall said crews removed roof insulation until trusses were fixed, to help snow melt off roofs and reduce the risk of collapse.
Rather than trying to reimburse everyone who paid more to heat their condos, the condo association decided to put in better insulation following the roof repairs, to reduce heating bills in the future.
Contact Dennis Webb: 384-9119
Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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