Insurer sues over allegedly faulty refrigerator parts at Patina Flats
Tokio Marine Kiln Syndicates Ltd., a London-based foreign surplus lines insurance company, is suing a group of refrigerator component makers and distributors, alleging that the companies sold faulty appliances that were installed in the Patina Flats apartments at The Foundry development in downtown Loveland.
Foreign surplus lines insurance companies often insure riskier assets than traditional insurance companies do. Tokio Marine Kiln provided insurance to developer Brinkman Construction for aspects of the Patina Flats project. Brinkman is not a party to the suit.
According to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, Delaware-based Electrolux Home Products and South Korean firms Useong Electro Mechanics Co. and Useong International Ltd. supplied Brinkman with “refrigerators with solenoid valves which controlled the supply of water to the icemakers in the refrigerators.”
The appliance “is designed so when the icemaker is in the ‘off’ position, the solenoid valve is closed and water is not allowed to flow through the valve to the icemaker,” the complaint said.
However, those valves were allegedly faulty and featured a fractured spring that “allowed the valve to stay open and water to run through it to the icemaker even though the icemaker was in the ‘off’ position,’” according to court documents.
In late 2018, a leak occurred that is alleged to have started inside a refrigerator, the complaint said. “The water flowing from the refrigerator leaked into multiple units causing significant damage to the units and throughout the Patina Flats building.”
Brinkman filed an insurance claim, the value of which was not disclosed, and Tokio Marine paid it out. Now the insurer is going after the manufacturer and distributors in court.
The defendants could not be reached for comment.
Loveland CarMax property sells for $7M
The CarMax location in Loveland was sold this month for $7.075 million, but the used-car dealership intends to stay on the property.
A subsidiary registered to Lakewood resident Richard Ross bought the underlying property at 3760 Byrd Drive from a subsidiary registered to American Eagle Properties Inc. president Jerry Helgeson.
The deal closed May 15.
The parcel last changed hands in 2015 for $6.765 million, according to Larimer County property records. County assessors last valued the land and buildings at $3.88 million.
A spokesperson for CarMax said the company will continue to operate as usual.
New Belgium and Odell sales grow in 2019, while Oskar Blues and Left Hand fall
Last year was a mixed bag for sales growth among the region’s largest craft brewers compared with the 4% growth in craft beer sales across the country in 2019.
According to sales data released in the latest edition of the Brewers Association’s magazine, New Belgium Brewing Co. sold the equivalent of 886,500 barrels, for a growth of 4% in the year, while fellow Fort Collins outfit Odell Brewing Co. sold 132,396 for a growth of 5% in the last full year before the company completed a CEO transition.
This is the last year that New Belgium will be included in the survey, as its sale last fall to a subsidiary of Japanese brewing conglomerate Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd. means that it no longer fits the association’s definition of a craft brewery.
The two largest craft breweries in Longmont fared worse in 2019. Left Hand Brewing Co. reported selling 60,296 barrels last year, amounting to a 6% drop in sales from 2018. Oskar Blues Brewery sold 150,000 barrels, a 9% sales decrease from 2018.
Yet Canarchy, the brewers collective founded by Oskar Blues and headquartered in Longmont, said in January that Oskar Blues’ sales in grocery stores increased 33% in 2019.
Greeley’s WeldWerks Brewing Co. reported that it sold 6,000 barrels last year, good for a 5% increase over 2018 and making it the top-selling taproom brewery among companies listed in the Mountain West area.
New art education business to open in Fort Collins
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a new business catering to childhood art enrichment will open in Fort Collins this summer.
Young Rembrandts, a franchise-based art education company, will open first with online classes and then in-person art enrichment classes when schools reopen in the fall.
Locally owned by Kristee Jones, the new Young Rembrandts franchise will not have an office location but will operate from schools and other facilities. It will serve the Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley areas.
“I understand how truly valuable art education is for kids, and I am thrilled to be a part of the Young Rembrandts family while introducing our innovative curriculum to Fort Collins,” Jones said in a written statement.
“I have seen firsthand the impact that Young Rembrandts had on my daughter — it gave her a chance to explore her creativity, build confidence and refine the skills she learned in the typical classroom,” she said.
With a background in elementary education and teacher training, Jones has worked with educators and spent time in health-care administrative and management positions.
Northern Colorado Real Estate Summit goes virtual
The Northern Colorado Real Estate Summit will go virtual in 2020, with a three-day schedule of panel discussions.
The summit originally was scheduled for early April at The Ranch event complex in Loveland but was rescheduled for June 18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The revised program will take place June 17-19, with three rounds of morning sessions.
The event will feature live-streaming presentations, interactive Q&A sessions, virtual trade-show booths, online networking, one-on-one video meetings and much more.
Registration for the summit is available on the BizWest website, with the early-bird registration cost of $34.49 available through June 10, when it goes to $39.49. Additional processing fees apply.
Attendees may also earn five continuing-education credits through VanEd. An additional fee applies.
Timnath leadership approves small-business grant fund
The Timnath town board last week approved the establishment of a Small Business Relief Grant Fund consisting of $50,000 “that will be distributed among Timnath’s local brick-and-mortar businesses,” according to a town news release.
“Timnath is uniquely positioned to assist our small business community,” board member Aaron Pearson said in a prepared statement. “Many of our larger businesses and food establishments along Harmony Road and Interstate 25 were able to adapt and remain open in some capacity, contributing in a big way to our town’s financial health.”
A grant committee that will include Timnath’s town manager, finance director and two town board members will review applications and determine funding amounts. Funds are expected to be distributed in mid-June.
Developer proposes 1,240 homes in northeast Fort Collins
A developer is proposing a 1,240-home neighborhood on Fort Collins’ northeast side, in the southwest corner of the planned Montava housing development.
Dubbed the Mountain Vista development, the project would span 300 acres on vacant farmland south of Mountain Vista Drive, east of Turnberry Road and west of Giddings Road.
It calls for 999 detached homes and 241 multifamily units, along with 21 acres for various commercial projects, according to project documents submitted to city officials.
The owner of the properties is K and M Co., which is registered to a P.O. box in Fort Collins but lists Steve Schroyer as its representative. He has previously represented OtterBox founder Kurt Richardson’s investment vehicle Blue Ocean Enterprises Inc. on redevelopment projects such as the rebuilt Windsor Mill.
Mountain Vista is directly south of the first area of construction planned for the 4,000-home Montava development.
In questions to the city staff, K and M suggested that it was interested in establishing a metro taxing district for the development and inquired about being able to use city utilities instead of the Boxelder Sanitation District.
K and M also inquired about the timeline of Montava’s proposed infrastructure upgrades in the area.
The development is due for its first round of preliminary reviews on June 10.
Independent Financial parent axes merger with Texas Capital Bancshares
Independent Bank Group, the parent company of Guaranty Bancorp, is ending its merger with Texas Capital Bancshares as economic uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to manifest.
In a statement, Independent said the all-stock deal with Dallas-based Texas Capital was no longer tenable due to the “extreme and unpredictable economic conditions” created by the pandemic.
Independent Bank acquired Denver-based Guaranty Bancorp. in early 2019 for $1 billion and rebranded itself to Independent Financial last October.
It operates local branches in Loveland, Fort Collins, Berthoud, Greeley, Brighton, Boulder, Eaton, Longmont and Westminster.
Texas Capital has branches in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.
“Given the significant uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic and market environment, it would not be prudent to continue to pursue the combination and integration of our companies at this time,” Independent Bank chairman and CEO David Brooks said in a prepared statement.
Neither side is liable to pay a termination fee.
The two companies originally announced their planned tie-up in early December, which at the time was expected to create a new entity with a market capitalization of $5.5 billion and more than $48 billion in assets.
The merger was expected to close in mid-2020.
The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has also thrown a wrench into other big-name merger and acquisition activity across the Front Range.
Xerox Holdings Corp. ended a hostile takeover attempt of longtime Fort Collins employer HP Inc. after the broader market turmoil at the time made its pursuit untenable.
Days later, Woodward Inc. and Hexcel Corp. canceled their all-stock merger attempt to create a $6.3 billion aerospace supplier as months of grounded planes shook the commercial aerospace industry.
• The Colorado Department of Labor released a series of new layoff and furlough notices Thursday. Among them was the Fort Collins Hilton hotel which, starting in March, began temporarily laying off a total of 113 workers — from general managers to front-desk clerks to housekeepers — “due to the unforeseen circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic,” according to a WARN Act notice filed with the state. No timeline was provided for when employees would be recalled. The Hilton at 425 W. Prospect Road is currently open, but the restaurant and pool facility remain closed.
• Colorado bankers have elected Nathan Ewert, president of First National Bank of Fort Collins, to chair the Colorado Bankers Association board for the coming year. He will be assisted by Michael Brown, regional president of Alpine Bank, who will be chairman-elect; and Mark Hall, senior vice president of Vectra Bank, who will serve as CBA treasurer.
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