Hayden The first residents of the Villages at Hayden subdivision were expecting to move into their new homes by the end of the year, but the development's five model homes still sit unfinished, mired in legal battles and facing foreclosure.
A skid-steer loader sat barely visible - and almost completely buried in a snowdrift - in an empty lot across from the homes on Lake View Drive on Thursday. The street, though cleanly plowed, was empty and silent.
In September, construction was halted at Lake Village, the first phase of the Villages at Hayden development, and Hidden Springs Ranch because of an ongoing legal dispute between the developers and their primary contractor. Hillsboro, Ore.-based Robinson Construction Co. filed liens against 4-S Development totaling $2.13 million - $1.41 million for the Villages and more than $700,000 for work done at Hidden Springs Ranch, according to documents from the Routt County Clerk and Recorder's office.
Compounding the developments' difficulties, foreclosure proceedings began last month for many of the lots in the Villages at Hayden subdivision.
Lots in Lake Village are scheduled to be sold to the highest bidder at public foreclosure auctions in February, but the developers are hoping to resolve the matter before then and finish the project, said Denver-based attorney Jay Labe, who is representing subdivision owner Mountain Adventure Property Investments, in the foreclosure.
Steamboat Springs attorney Alan Keefe, representing the interests of Vectra Bank, declined to comment. The bank was still owed more than $3.13 million on the Villages properties when foreclosure notices were filed Dec. 12, according to Routt County documents.
Many of the people who had bought or reserved homes in the Villages at Hayden subdivision have been unable to sit tight until the legal issues are resolved, especially those who were trying to sell their former residences, said Colorado Group Realty broker and owner Kelda Combs Wall.
In November, developer Roger Johnson said about half the homes in each development had been sold or were under reservation. Johnson did not return calls for comment.
Combs Wall has friends and clients who once were planning to make their home there. Many of them have been forced by the construction delays to make their homes elsewhere, buying other properties in Hayden and Milner.
"They couldn't wait," she said.
Hayden is a particularly painful market for such a snafu, given that many families looking to buy homes there are priced out of new residential developments in Steamboat Springs and are unlikely to qualify for construction loans, Combs Wall said.
"They invest their money, their time, they find a place, they find a house - and then it's gone," Combs Wall said. "I just feel bad for the people who found a home, had an emotional attachment to it, and now have nowhere to live."
The town of Hayden recently was named a party to some of the ongoing litigation with Robinson Construction Co., since some of the improvements made by the firm were to the town's roads and rights-of-way in the subdivisions, Town Manager Russ Martin said.
Attorney Mike Halloran, who represents the town of Hayden, declined to comment on the matter last week, because he has not yet reviewed the lawsuit.
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