Real Estate & Construction  August 11, 2022

Owner of now-empty Union Station apartment building sues builder

This article first appeared on BusinessDen.com, a BizWest news partner.

Owners of The Grand Apartments — a complex just east of Union Station mockingly called “Denver’s wettest apartments” by former tenants — have sued the local construction company they blame for “catastrophic” flooding. The builder says it stands by its work.

Meanwhile, former tenants are mobilizing online, sharing tips and templates for suing the owners and management company that evicted them this month. An Instagram account, “The NOT SO Grand,” posts a running tally of problems there to 13,000 followers.

Located at 1777 Chestnut Place, the 24-story, 508-unit complex is owned by San Francisco-based Shorenstein Properties and managed by South Carolina-based Greystar. It was built between 2016 and 2018 by the Englewood builder Saunders Construction.

According to Shorenstein, it was shoddily built.

Shorenstein’s lawsuit in Denver District Court alleges Saunders used the wrong materials when it built The Grand’s water systems, leading to 33 leaks and “large-scale floods.” Residents have lost personal belongings and the entire building is now closed as a result.

The lawsuit claims “defective construction” caused air and water to seep into 416 apartments, damaging drywall, floors and painting, and improperly installed glass balustrades sent debris “showering” the streets and sidewalks below, “raising serious life safety concerns for not only the residents of The Grand, but also the general public.” The balconies were first closed and later removed entirely, according to the lawsuit.

The apartment complex also experienced “widespread power outages” in its north tower as a result of “defective work” by Saunders, according to the building’s owner.

Justin Cooper, president of Saunders, said in a statement that his company “is aware of the issues at The Grand Apartments and we empathize with the residents and staff.”

“Saunders stands behind our work,” Cooper said. “Since the issues arose, we led efforts to investigate and support the successful resolution of these matters. We will continue to actively cooperate with the ongoing investigation and insurance claim process. While we disagree with the allegations made against us, we look forward to resolving the claim as quickly as possible.”

Shorenstein’s attorney — David Hutchinson with the Denver real estate law firm Otten, Johnson, Robinson, Neff & Ragonetti — declined to place a dollar figure on damage at The Grand, instead deferring to a Shorenstein spokesman who also declined to comment. A request for comment from Greystar, the building’s manager, was not answered.

Shorenstein’s lawsuit is not the first concerning The Grand and likely won’t be the last.

In 2019, two subcontractors sued Saunders in separate lawsuits, claiming they did $625,000 and $484,000, respectively, in unpaid work at The Grand. Both cases were settled.

Angry former tenants are now trying to add more lawsuits to the mix, though they have their arrows focused on Shorenstein and Greystar rather than Saunders. A Facebook group with an explicit name has formed to discuss litigation strategy. On GitHub, an open source sharing website, members have created templates for lawsuits and advice for filing them.

“Nothing herein,” their GitHub page, called “The Grand Is Going Down,” cautions, “creates an attorney/client relationship and all that jazz.”

This article first appeared on BusinessDen.com, a BizWest news partner.

Owners of The Grand Apartments — a complex just east of Union Station mockingly called “Denver’s wettest apartments” by former tenants — have sued the local construction company they blame for “catastrophic” flooding. The builder says it stands by its work.

Meanwhile, former tenants are mobilizing online, sharing tips and templates for suing the owners and management company that evicted them this month. An Instagram account, “The NOT SO Grand,” posts a running tally of problems there to 13,000…

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