Denver Development

Tenants at The Grand Say the Apartments Are Anything But

Residents at The Grand on 1777 Chestnut Place say they've lived through floods, power outages, unsanitary conditions and property damage.
Residents at The Grand on 1777 Chestnut Place say they've lived through floods, power outages, unsanitary conditions and property damage. Special to Westword
“I loved my apartment,” says Jamie Grayson, a tenant who recently moved out of his unit at The Grand apartments at 1777 Chestnut Place. “I just could not live there anymore.”

The Grand is geared to affluent Denver residents; monthly rents range from $1,500 for a studio to $8,000 for a penthouse. But don't count on the killer city views to distract you from the skeletons in the closet.

Grayson, who works as a professional baby gear expert, had lived in both the South and North buildings before he moved out of the Grand in July after almost three years there.

“I’ve lived all over, and I’ve never seen a building with issues like this, ever," says Grayson. “The bulk of my issues happened in my last year. The building manager takes forever to get back to you. When she would see me in the lobby, she would just bury her face and walk to her office as quick as she could. It’s pretty horrendous.”

Tenants say that when they've complained, Greystar, the property manager, has been unresponsive. Greystar has an office in Greenwood Village and manages hundreds of properties across the country, as well as in Latin America and Europe.

Conditions at the 508-unit apartment complex behind Union Station got so bad this year that an anonymous, tenant-run Instagram account, notsogranddenver, began documenting everything from residents and their pets stepping through puddles of water to wrecked ceilings in the parking garage to staff snoozing on the job.

In June, a flood caused a power outage for over a day — during a record heat wave. Residents say they were told that maintenance had found a "permanent fix," though problems persisted months later. The pool, billed as one of the complex's amenities, has been closed off and on because of unsanitary water.

Grayson discovered that the expensive baby gear in his storage unit was covered and contaminated by mouse feces. “I have thousands and thousands of dollars' worth of car seats, and all of this had renters' insurance. But it turns out, it didn't cover the mice," he says. "When I was moving out, I ran into another tenant who also had mouse poop all over their stuff in their storage unit. There was another girl who sent me a video of mice in hers. You add the flooding and all the other’s wild.”

Making things even wilder, Grayson adds, was his discovery that The Mint House, a privately run hotel, occupied the entire eighth floor of the North building above where he lived. "When I moved in, no one told me this. I would get glass and cigarette butts on my balcony, drinks poured on me," he recalls.

Another South building tenant, Tavorris Garrett, cites similar problems, as well as a flood on his floor last month that pooled at the end of the hallway. “There are signs that the building is slanted,” says Garrett. “Management, starting from the top, is terrible on all levels. Yet they charge premium rates.”

In September, Ashley Tauch, a tenant in the North building who's been living at the Grand since 2019, had her water shut off for a day; she later found leaks and mold. More worrisome, she says, was her discovery of a class-action lawsuit waiver snuck into the middle of her lease agreement. (Tenants at another Denver apartment complex, Mint Urban Infinity, recently filed a class-action suit against that complex's property manager.)

Finally, a former tenant reached out to the Denver City Council member who represents the district that includes the Grand, and Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca's office alerted the Denver Fire Department of the complaints, according to Liz Stalnaker, CdeBaca's director of constituent services and communications.

But the fire department was already on the case. On October 8, it issued a laundry list of violations regarding the 24-story North building. Among the reported violations were several accessibility violations, including emergency exit doors being blocked or missing signs; trash removal rooms and fire doors in need of replacement or repair, with some doors missing a fusible link; no current conveyance certificate of operation; and an outdated generator, boiler and swimming pool permit.

The lead inspector is slated to do a follow-up inspection next week.

The Grand's developer and owner, Shorenstein Properties, is registered under the business name 1709 Chestnut Place LLC, according to Colorado Secretary of State records. Shorenstein is expanding its Denver footprint quickly, particularly in the Union Station/Five Points neighborhoods. In February 2020, it announced plans to develop One Platte, a multi-use project at 1701 Platte Street that's expected to complete construction by 2022. A few days ago, it announced its acquisition of Rev360 at 3725 Wynkoop Street.

Contacted about the tenants' complaints, the Grand sent this statement: "As property management, Greystar is in constant contact with building ownership of The Grand to ensure that the safety and comfort of our residents remains a top priority. We recently communicated with residents about a larger upcoming repair to the property which is being handled by a third party. We are committed to providing consistent communication with residents about these upcoming projects as soon as a timeline is finalized. We understand any disruption to daily life is not easy on our residents, and we’re committed to supporting our residents throughout this process."

Neither the Grand nor Greystar responded to subsequent questions regarding the fire department inspection.

On November 25, tenants were notified that the Grand would perform window testing on units with balconies following "isolated incidents where balcony glass has broken." The Grand estimated that the repairs and some routine inspections would go on for two to three weeks, and that affected tenants would get a discount on rent.

But that's too little, too late, for some Grand residents.

"They do not care about our safety or our happiness," says Tauch. "It is so frustrating walking into a building every day, a place that should be our safe haven, and feel dread and anger. The worst part is that I love my unit, with a few exceptions. But I have never experienced such a lack of care by management.

"And we pay a premium to live here." 
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Hilal is an alumnus of Metropolitan State University of Denver, with a degree in political science. Along with Westword, she's written for Denver Life magazine and 303 magazine.
Contact: Hilal Bahcetepe