Stapp relinquishes Phase 1 of Cahava Springs project

By Curtis Riggs | December 10, 2008

Maintains final 178 lots
CAVE CREEK – Cahava Springs developer Mark Stapp and Pyramid Developers relinquished Phase 1 of the 945-acre, 230-lot project in the west part of town in a mediation session held last week to resolve problems between investors and developers in the planned eco-friendly development.

Gary Birnbaum, attorney for the Town of Cave Creek, mediated the session during which Stapp and his team worked out their differences with Cahava Investors, a member of the C.S. Devco development entity.

Phase 1 of the Cahava Springs project includes the first 52 lots. Cahava Investors is also responsible for installing the infrastructure for the project, which includes building roads, running water lines and the salvage of many plants, which were on the property.

Pyramid Developers will complete 178 lots in Phases 2 through 5 per the mediation agreement.

Stapp said the mediation terms were met with “great sadness” because he is “immensely proud” of the project.

“Our inability to personally finish at least Phase 1 is an immense disappointment and not taken lightly,” he said.

Stapp said Pyramid agreed to the mediation terms, “to ensure the safety items (dust control and completing the roads) and to save the salvaged plant material.”

There is $10,000 worth of plants boxed up on the site, which have not received the proper attention since Cahava Investors filed a lawsuit to stop the project in November.

Stapp and his Pyramid partners are going to keep a close eye on how Phase 1 is completed because of its potential effect on the rest of the project.

“We will be paying real close attention,” he said about infrastructure completion and property preparation for Phases 2 through 5. “The plants are not in good shape because when they filed the lawsuit the bank froze the funds and no one is paying for the plants to be watered.”

Apache SpringStapp made it clear the gift of 80 acres to the Town of Cave Creek to create a land bridge between the Cave Creek Recreation Area and the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area will not be impacted by the mediation agreement. He hopes the 130-acre Apache Springs Nature Preserve will not be greatly impacted.

“The 130 acres could be impacted by erosion and pollution going into the creek,” he said.
Cave Creek Mayor Vincent Francia said Cave Creek’s “singular concern” is seeing safety issues are attended to while the two groups work out their differences.”

Cahava Investors Manager Jim Klugge said the mediation was needed to “try and work out arrangements on how to restructure the company.”

One thing Klugge and Stapp agree on is maintaining the environmental-friendly objectives and goals of the project.

“The plan will stay the same, but like a lot projects in the Phoenix metro area the time table will be delayed,” Klugge said.

Photo: The hope is the Apache Springs Conservation Area will not be negatively impacted by a recent Cahava Springs project mediation agreement.
Courtesy Photo