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Fate of proposed Fort Collins parking garage in the air

Putting up a new commercial building can be stressful in and of itself, but it can be downright frustrating when the local government gets involved. Hearings, decisions and appeals all take time that can delay construction and cost builders and contractors money. One local contractor is learning this lesson the hard way.

In August, 2013, Capstone Development Partners opened The Summit, a building designed to be used primarily for student housing. The building's occupants were intended to use the Fort Collins rapid-transit MAX bus system for the bulk of their transportation needs, so there was very little car parking to go along with the building.

Since the MAX was not yet running when the building opened, occupants wound up parking their cars in nearby residential areas, spurring complaints from the local residents. A city council meeting was held in March 2014, spurring Capstone to propose and plan construction of a 427-space parking garage located near the building in midtown Fort Collins.

Although the council approved the plan, a record-breaking three appeals were filed attempting to block the progress of the construction. The appeals were filed by a local businessman, a city councilman and the owner of a retail venue located within The Summit.

All of the appeals question the need for such a large structure since the MAX was not operational when The Summit opened so the ongoing parking needs could not yet be determined. One of the appeals also questions whether the building meets city zoning requirements. Fort Collins city code requires that any structures exceeding 40 feet be subject to an automatic review to determine whether any views are obstructed by the building. Once cars are parked on the proposed garage's roof, this height requirement would be met. The next hearing is set for May 20, 2014.

The construction delays that arise while waiting for hearings and appeals are expensive and time consuming, and having access to a legal professional who is experienced in commercial real estate matters can make a difference in the ultimate outcome.

Source: The Coloradoan, "Parking garage appeals allowed to go forward" Pat Ferrier, Apr. 09, 2014

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