A 232-unit apartment complex two blocks from the University of Northern Colorado campus has received multiple citations related to sanitation and fire safety, as well as fines for some clean-up efforts, a city spokesperson said.
University Flats on 6th Avenue was cited three times from Sept. 24 to Oct. 1 by the Greeley Fire Department. Violations involve signage, stairwell doors, and fire sprinklers and alarm monitoring, citations said.
A fourth citation came from the city’s code compliance unit Oct. 7. This one cited stagnant water, trash accumulation and trash receptacles.
Students living at University Flats in late September referred in a media account to green water in the pool, dog feces, overflowing bins used to collect trash, intermittent internet service and water delivery to the complex being shut-off because of an unpaid bill.
A New York Times article this month said woes aren’t limited to one property of the owner, an affiliate of Nelson Partners in Orange County, California.
Becky Safarik, deputy city manager for community development, said certain of the cited violations’ circumstances have been partially resolved and the complex is being “closely watched.”
She said units are currently inhabitable. “We are adhering to deadlines and expectations for [the owners] to complete all the necessary work,” she told BizWest. “The city has them on a short leash for compliance.”
She said fire alarm monitoring is required around the clock and noted the algae in the pool, overflowing trash dumpsters and difficulty getting in touch with the owners.
No representative attended a hearing about the fire department violations, which were continued until next month, Safarik said via later email. An administrative hearing on the code violations resulted in fines of $3,025 and “[they] will be billed for the clean-up work.”
UNC spokesperson Deanna Herbert said students displaced from University Flats can stay in on-campus housing rent-free for 10 days while deciding where to go, whether a dorm or different off-campus digs.
“We [have] volunteers to help with moving,” she said, and “counseling and free legal help” if needed.
University Flats is unaffiliated with UNC.
Greeley Realty Investors LLC developed the project in 2014 at a cost of $10 million. The LLC was affiliated with Central Street Capital Inc. in Denver. Central Street founder Rob Salazar also, through Salazar Family Foundation, has donated to UNC.
The first phase opened with 92 units. Students praised its walk-in closets, granite countertops, hardwood floors, washer-dryer set-ups in each room, one bathroom per bedroom and soundproofed walls.
Greeley Flats DST, the Nelson Partners affiliate, bought the property in 2018 for some $21 million, Weld County Assessor records show. DST refers to a tax-favorable approach to buying real estate. The buyer owned apartments in Boulder and Denver at the time.
Colorado Secretary of State records show several LLCs connected to Nelson companies in California or the University Flats address in Greeley. One is delinquent; the others are in good standing. One also has connected to it an address in Salt Lake City. Brothers Patrick and Brian Nelson have family connections there.
The brothers since about 2007 have started several companies, including one focused on student housing, according to the New York Times. Nelson Brothers Professional Real Estate LLC was No. 129 on 2017’s Inc. 5000 with 3,111% growth. A Nelson Brothers press release said then it had bought and run more than $550 million in assets. Local business media honored the company as well.
The brothers split their business interests in 2018, the Times said.
Safarik said University Flats owners “weren’t particularly responsive.”
Calls to Patrick Nelson and development vice president Bob Perdue weren’t immediately returned.