In Evergreen, lags and lawsuits hit a townhouse project

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The first townhouse building at Pinecrest Ridge in Evergreen as seen on Jan. 23, 2022. (Pinecrest Townhomes/Instagram)

When Cindy Spencer and her husband moved here from Austin, Texas  in 2021, they looked for a house in the foothills and eventually found one on Zillow in Evergreen.

“It sounded fantastic, like a dream,” she said. “A dream house in a dream location.”

The townhome, purchased for $769,000, was scheduled to be built by March 2022. But that was pushed back to November, then spring, then this summer. As they waited, the Spencers moved into an apartment, then an Airbnb, then hotels, costing them cash and patience.

“We were screwed out of a lot of money and we are still not confident that we are going to get what we were told,” said Spencer, 46, who said the couple found major construction flaws when they moved in last month. “We can’t even get them to come back and put screens in the windows.”

Pinecrest Ridge, which has been under construction since late 2020, is a proposed complex of 26 townhomes and 26 duplexes just uphill from a Safeway. Construction was initially scheduled to conclude this year; instead, only eight of the 52 units have been finished and sold.

Meanwhile, the project’s developer is facing two lawsuits and threats of a third. One accuses it of causing a mudslide and another seeks a court-appointed caretaker for Pinecrest.

“When confronted with the repeated problems facing the project, current management offers nothing but excuses,” alleges an Aug. 24 lawsuit. “Management’s litany of excuses and lack of problem-solving ability … demonstrate management’s lack of development acumen.”

Behind that latest lawsuit is Brian Roberts, a developer who bought a dozen acres in 2017, obtained rezoning in 2018 and won county approval in 2020. He then sold the land to Pinecrest Townhomes in exchange for $200,000 from each future home sale, up to $2.45 million. To date, Roberts said he has been paid just $750,000.

“Brian Roberts is heavily invested in the neighborhood’s success,” his lawyer, Aaron Goldhamer, said. “Unfortunately, the number and severity of the issues compelled him to file suit.”

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A housing complex at Pinecrest Ridge in Evergreen on Nov. 26, 2022. (Pinecrest Townhomes/Instagram)

Pinecrest is being built and managed by Ascent Builders in Northglenn. Phone calls and emails requesting comment from Ascent and its CEO Jason Brown were not answered.

Last July, a rainstorm fell on Evergreen and the Pinecrest job site, which had been stripped of vegetation. Mud moved downhill from Pinecrest into Evergreen Discount Liquors, forcing it to close for a week while it underwent hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs.

The store is suing Ascent for allegedly causing the mudslide. Ascent, meanwhile, said the store is to blame for not maintaining a storm drain. A five-day trial is scheduled for March.

Roberts, who blames Ascent for the mudslide and resulting liquor store lawsuit, said erosion remains a problem at Pinecrest. Homeowners have complained about that, a crumbling foundation, a sagging roof, a faulty window and more, Roberts said.

Those problems, along with major construction delays, have caused buyers of unbuilt homes to renege on their contracts, he claims. Some have hired an attorney in Evergreen and sent Ascent letters threatening to sue it for fraud. Their most recent was sent last week.

Roberts is suing Pinecrest Townhomes for breach of contract and is asking Jefferson County District Court Judge Tamara Russell to let a receiver, rather than Ascent, run Pinecrest due to “the ineptitude of the manager” — Brown — “and his construction company.”

Meanwhile, for Spencer and her husband, what was once a dream home remains a mess.

“We have window frames that are cracked, there are screens missing, electrical outlets that aren’t working,” she said by phone Tuesday. “So, yeah, it has been a journey.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the terms of Brian Roberts’ land sale arrangement. The deal calls for him to be paid a maximum of $2.45 million.

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