Hole to fill? Construction of downtown Durango hotels could be weeks away – The Durango Herald


Developer begins stockpiling materials at East Second Avenue site

The large pit on East Second Avenue between Fourth Street and Fifth Street shows no construction activity Thursday as it waits for developer Lamont Companies to build a dual-branded AC hotel by Marriott and Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Construction of a hotel project on East Second Avenue between Fourth and Fifth Streets could begin in the coming weeks. But the city of Durango is waiting to receive a letter of credit from Lamont Companies, the developer, before greenlighting construction.

The project, a dual-brand AC Hotel by Marriott and Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton, has been stalled for several years. Daniel Murray, the city’s development services manager, said Lamont Companies had “indicated” city staff members that the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain issues and contractor issues were at hand. the origin of the heist.

Jeff Lamont of Lamont Companies was unavailable for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Scott Shine, director of community development, said in a brief update to Durango City Council last week that Lamont Companies was working offsite to prepare the materials needed for on-site parking. The car park is said to be the first stage of construction for the hotels since a huge hole was dug four years ago in November 2018.

The excavation was carried out without a concrete slab or concrete foundation wall ever being built, raising concerns about the structural integrity of the massive earthen wall.

“We understand they want to move forward as soon as possible,” Shine said.

The city is waiting for Lamont Companies to issue a letter of credit, which would provide the city with financial resources to stabilize the foundation wall should the project be abandoned, he said.

The city monitored the foundation wall on a monthly basis, and sometimes more often, he said.

Murray said the geological engineers have tolerance thresholds in place and so far conditions at the site have not exceeded those thresholds. He said the city does not allow garbage trucks or other heavy vehicles through the alley adjacent to the wall’s cliff to avoid putting pressure on the wall.

Monitoring will continue until the site’s foundation is completed by the developer, he said.

Shine said the city has been in communication with neighbors adjacent to the site and has responded to complaints about weeds and other concerns.

He said residents may notice activity at the site as Lamont Companies begins storing materials there.

The project would create a total of 202 rooms in two hotels and stand six stories high at its highest point. It is a modular, pre-engineered design, which means the hotel units and foundations were fabricated elsewhere — the Front Range area, Murray said — and will be delivered by truck to the construction site where they will be assembled. using a crane and limited labor on site.

“The onsite work hasn’t happened, but the developer remains diligent in the sense that they’ve been working offsite,” Murray said. “So it’s been slow offsite, but we’ve been advised by the concrete fabricator for them that this work is nearing completion.”

He said the developer would be eligible for full planning permission “any day now”.

The city originally approved the Lamont Companies site-specific development plan in November 2014, he said. The city eventually issued excavation permits in 2018, which allowed the developer to carry out excavation and shoring work, the result of which is the pit that exists today.

In January 2021, the developer received a foundation permit. But the work slowed down and the city finally agreed to an extension of this permit.

On Tuesday, Councilor Olivier Bosmans said the stalled project “has been an eyesore to our community” as well as a public health and safety concern. He asked if the city had a performance bond or a completion bond to ensure that the completion of the project is not pushed further.

Shine said the letter of credit the city is waiting to receive is to protect the city and ensure the pit can be backfilled or another project can proceed there. He said Lamont Companies is also responsible for securing public improvements, such as sidewalk work and utilities, around the site.

A project completion date for the entire project has not been provided to the city, Murray said.

“We asked them for the same information,” he said.

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