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$50 million assessment at Mountain Green to hit condo owners in July

After decades of calling Killington home, some say it’s too expensive for them to stay

By Katy Savage

Mountain Green condo owners voted in favor of a $50 million assessment to bring the building into the 21st Century, but some longtime owners said their quarterly payments will be so high they can’t afford it and they will be forced out.

An $18 million assessment was approved in 2022, and another $29 million was approved by condo owners on March 11.

Starting July, owners will pay $10,000 or more a year for the next five years, after which payments will start to drop through 2035.

Helen Werns, who retired last March,  said she has to go back to work to afford her condo.   She has owned her 750-square-foot unit for 30 years. The assessment will cost her about $7,000 a quarter.

“We don’t need the Taj Mahal,” said Werns. “We need something that functions, that’s safe. I wish they budgeted easier for people like me to handle.”

Mountain Green Condominium Association, Inc. is a 45-year-old, 215-unit association with three buildings. It’s located across from Snowshed Lodge on East Mountain Road.

“At one point it was one of the premier buildings on the market,” said Jamie Fox, the general manager.

Fox said the second $29 million became necessary after realizing $18 million wasn’t going to cover the costs.

“As we started to look at the cost of materials and what it’s taking to do the job, the overall cost of what we wanted to do became apparent, that increased it exponentially,” he said.

The renovations, under DEW Construction Corporation, will take about 2 1/2 years to complete.

“We have the ability to stretch it out over six years if we wanted,” Fox said. “The longer we go, the more expensive materials get.”

The $50 million will pay for new standing seam metal roofs on all three buildings, new decks, new siding, insulation, new windows and accessible entryways. It also pays for $1.5 million in upgrades to the health club, which includes a pool, two hot tubs, sauna and a steam room.

“We’ve had multiple architects and engineers investigate our buildings to be sure we are uncovering deficiencies and addressing them properly,” explained Adam Carne, president of the Mountain Green board. “There were some structural issues around the indoor pool and garage area that were remedied in 2022 and 2023. There are no [further] significant structural concerns that we are aware of but we know there is still water infiltration due to our failing roof and envelope which is being addressed as part of the repair project. If left unchecked, the continued water infiltration would lead to structural issues that could eventually lead to condemnation,” he said, adding: “By doing a complete siding and roof replacement, rather than just going over the existing structures, we are able to see what’s going on under the skin, address any issues that are uncovered and seal our buildings properly.”

But the cost may be unaffordable for some, forcing them out. Longtime condo owners, like Misha Havlicek who has owned her condo for 30 years, are concerned they won’t be able to afford it. Havlicek lives on Social Security and gardening in the summer. Mountain Green condos used to be a relatively affordable option in town.

“This is my home,” she said.

Mountain Green has been her home since her previous house in New Jersey burned in a fire.

Her mortgage will be paid off this year, but the assessment will cost her $200,000 in the end.

“It’s just like buying a new condo,” she said. “I was planning to leave this condo in a body bag. I don’t know how that’s all going to work now.”

Many owners are trying to sell their condos. There were 24 units on the market at the end of March. Havlicek and others are concerned their condos won’t sell, leaving her no options.

Havlicek’s situation has other condo owners concerned.

“She will lose her condominium due to this excessive assessment,” said Diane Deutsch, a friend of Havlicek who has owned her condo at Mountain Green for over 20 years.

Deutsch bought her condo for $48,000.

“And at the end of all this [the assessment, it] will probably cost me $350,000—that’s not worth it,” she said.

Deutsch, who is at retirement age, works as a librarian at Pittsfield Library and an administrative assistant. 

Deutsch and other condo owners admitted some repairs and expenses are necessary. There are rusted beams and leaky roofs, but Deutsch said many of the renovations are excessive.

“[The board] keeps talking about how we have to do this,” she said. “We have to look good and yeah, it’s going to hurt people and it’s going to change people’s lives but we don’t care.”

While expensive, some other owners say the $50 million price tag is well worth the investment.

“The location is pretty cool because…
you’re going to walk right into the village,”
Mastroeni said.

Great Gulf is planning to construct a village at the Snowshed/Ramshead base areas, creating a hub that includes 32,000 square feet of commercial space and 239 new units of housing.

Mountain Green will be central to that new village.

“That could tilt the scales drastically,” said Nathan Mastroeni, an associate broker at Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty in Killington, which has office space at Mountain Green.

Mastroeni anticipates the value of condos will rise dramatically when the village becomes a reality.

“The location is pretty cool because…you’re going to walk right into the village,” Mastroeni said. “We’re making it ready for the next 20-30 years.”

Mastroeni said there were about 24 units currently for sale, ranging from $150,000 for a one-bedroom condo to $300,000 for a three-bedroom condo. Four units are under contract or have recently sold.

“Even though the numbers look scary, there’s some life out there for these condos,” he said.

Despite the concern, there is also excitement about bringing needed upgrades to the building.

A new management company, FirstService Residential, took over on Monday.

FirstService, based in Florida, manages thousands of properties and was hired to lead Mountain Green into the future with more digitized services for condo owners.

The current Mountain Green board is trying to get the building ready to meet the new construction standards of the anticipated village.

“We don’t want to be the eyesoar,” said Carne.

Carne said the buildings have been patched and repaired for too long. “We’ve reached the end of that road,” he said. “Much of our infrastructure is beyond the end of its useful life. There’s a responsibility to get this right.”

The Mountain Green community is diverse: while some use Mountain Green as a primary residence, others rent out their units, and others use it as a vacation property.

Carne said longtime owners had to know the day of a large assessment was coming, given the obvious deferred maintenance throughout the buildings.

“They can’t be surprised a renovation had to happen because a renovation never happened,” Carne said. “It’s unfortunate to see folks go, but we didn’t have a choice. These repairs weren’t options. They had to be done and we couldn’t take any more time.”


By Wiemann Lamphere Architects
Renderings of the renovations planned for the three-building condo complex of Mountain Green near the Snowshed base.

 

4 comments on “$50 million assessment at Mountain Green to hit condo owners in July

  1. MLS has many listings at Mountain Green, and I suspect there are more to come. I get it, the Realtors are going to position “the future, Mountain Green,” as a great buy, now, but that seems to come with substantial financial risk, not the least of which is associated with construction that has not yet begun at Mountain Green, and unanticipated repairs/refurbisment/renovations that will have to be made, that represent unanticipated costs to the Unit Owners.

    I am reminded of my “Lifetime Season Pass” at Killington. Lifetime…….

  2. We need legal help to stop the madness. Over 35% of unit owners objected to the assessment the way it was set up.

  3. You mean the village that has been talked about for decades ?
    We can’t even get the sidewalk finished down to route 4.

Comments are closed.

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