The Filling Station goes back to the bank

The Filling Station, the youth center at 3906 Cleveland Ave. in Wellington, went back to the bank on Aug. 8. But that might not be as bad as it sounds.

Points West Community Bank purchased the property at a Larimer County Public Trustee’s foreclosure auction for the outstanding balance of the mortgage: $200,878. Joshua Griffin, executive director of Joshua Griffin Ministries, the nonprofit that operates The Filling Station, told North Forty News he is now working directly with the bank’s Wellington branch manager Tom Gillespie to buy the building.

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“Points West has been very supportive of what we’re doing,” Griffin said. “Tom knows our vision and understands that our goal is to stay in the building. He has really reached out to help us stay in the community.”

The Filling Station works with the Larimer County Department of Human Services and other organizations, such as the Boys & Girls Club, to provide a safe place for local youth and young adults to spend time. Griffin said the center served about 30 to 60 kids a week over the summer and expects that number to spike in the after-school programs offered three days a week. The Filling Station also hosts a regular AA meeting on Tuesday nights, among other events and activities.

The bank had filed a notice of election and demand — the first step in foreclosure — on the building in August 2011. The original auction sale date was Dec. 28, but the owner of the building, NOJ Investments of Wellington LLC, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy the day before.

At the time, Griffin said NOJ was reorganizing to buy some time so the nonprofit could work with the bank to buy the building. And as soon as the title clears and any outstanding liens or other claims against the property are resolved, in about 30 to 60 days according to Griffin, his organization will have a better handle on exactly what that will require. He expects to be writing grants and raising funds, adding that he has been approached by a potential investor to help with the purchase.

The ongoing expansion of the building is nearly complete and could be open within a couple of months, Griffin added, but has been put on hold until the ownership issue is finally resolved.

“We’ve been playing a waiting game for about a year,” he said. “The issues with the building were not our financial issues. We’re still open and providing services to the kids, and look forward to procuring the building so we can be part of the community for years to come.”

NOJ originally purchased the building in April 2003 with a mortgage of $175,000 from First National Bank of Wellington, according to county records. Griffin had been leasing the building for $1 per month through 2015. At the time of the bankruptcy filing, the building was valued at $220,000, with claims against it of $245,000, including $14,135 in Larimer County property taxes and $44,231 in other expenses.