Residents trying to buy Marpa House say they are “surprised and saddened” by a letter Shambhala’s Interim Board sent to the community on Tuesday announcing the impending sale of their home, and are calling for the board to be more transparent about how the sale has unfolded.
Marpa House, owned by the Buddhist organization, is a cohousing residence on University Hill in Boulder that is home to about 40 people. Residents came together to form the nonprofit Community of Marpa House to raise money to buy the property and keep it as it is.
Many neighbors in the community rallied around the residents and said they oppose redevelopment of the property. Historic Boulder also has submitted an application to designate the property as an historical landmark in Boulder.
In an email to supporters sent Tuesday evening, the community group said the board’s email was “not entirely accurate from our perspective.”
“The way in which the (interim board) characterized the work done by Community of Marpa House, our initial offer, our current offer, and the comparison to the developer’s offer, is inaccurate and disappointing,” the email states.
The board wrote that the community group submitted a $3 million offer and couldn’t be convinced the property was worth more. The real estate developer submitted an all-cash offer for $4.9 million.
However, Community of Marpa House member Kaleigh Isaacs said the board knew the group was submitting a larger offer of $4.2 million on Tuesday.
The group was able to raise $1.8 million in friendly loans and $487,000 in pledged donations, according to its email. The rest of the funds would come from a bank loan.
The group’s email said it has been in communication with the board over the past few weeks and was thus surprised to read the letter announcing plans to move forward with the sale to the developer.
“We strongly request of the Interim Board transparency in presenting to the community how the Marpa House situation has unfolded, what decisions the Interim Board has made and where we are now,” the group’s email states.
Isaacs declined to provide comments beyond the group’s email.
It is still unclear if the board will consider the group’s offer, or continue moving ahead with the sale to the developer.
A spokeswoman for the board provided a statement Tuesday, which said the residents of Marpa House will be able to stay in the building until Oct. 31, and rent will be waived for September and October.
The board cites its “fiduciary and legal responsibility to the Shambhala organization and community” as the reason for accepting a third-party offer for the house. The board put it up for sale due to financial struggles as it also deals with sexual assault allegations against its members and some leaders.
A group of developers has submitted a pre-application review to the city of Boulder that proposes splitting the building into 16 three-bedroom apartments. It’s not clear if the developers are the same ones who are in the closing process.