by Mark Reaman
The last-minute acquisition of a performance bond will allow Bywater Development to move forward with Phase 2 of the Paradise Park affordable housing project.
Bywater will proceed with 10 more units, all of which have been committed to by local businesses as places for their employees to live in Crested Butte.
Joel Wissian of Bywater told the council at the September 3 meeting that while he didn’t quite meet the council-imposed deadline to acquire the performance bond by August 30, he did get one that day, on September 3. “The bond is in place and in a FedEx truck somewhere between Houston and Crested Butte,” he told the council. “You will have the bond in place and we can close soon and start on Phase 2.”
The unusual circumstance of the town requiring the bond of the developer, who also would take ownership of the property from the town, made obtaining the bond very difficult.
Council went into a closed-door executive session in the middle of the council meeting to discuss the legal ramifications of the situation. Upon returning to the public meeting, the council agreed to move ahead with Phase 2, contingent upon the bond’s review by the town attorney.
Councilman Will Dujardin expressed some frustration with the “style of communication” that had been taking place between Bywater and the town.
Wissian said he felt that communication had been good between him and town staff and he originally thought the bond issue would be an easy part of the process—until it wasn’t.
“It’s worrisome that technically you defaulted on the contract twice by not getting the bond in on time but we all want it done and we’re there,” said Dujardin. “I just wanted to clear the air.”
“I’ve spent probably 300 hours trying to secure this bond,” responded Wissian. “It was flawed from the beginning and it’s something that has to be figured out for any similar projects in the future. That it came through at all was crazy miraculous.”
The council also moved to amend the master deed restrictions so it is clear that a business that purchases one of the deed-restricted units can be an owner or a corporation, as long as they are a Gunnison County employer.
Wissian said he was fine with that amendment and hoped to close on the land transfer from the town to Bywater this week. Wissian said as soon as the closing is official he would begin construction.