Downtown Sarasota condo sidelined by lawsuits
By: Kevin McQuaid
31 December 2016
The contractor building The Jewel condo tower in downtown Sarasota is
suing the owner and the designer of the 18-story high rise, claiming
numerous and unexpected changes have delayed the $50 million project’s
Suffolk Construction Co. maintains multiple changes by owner Main
Street J Development Co. and Hoyt Architects have added millions of
dollars to its original $23 million contract and sidelined workers at
“As a result of the owner’s and architect’s inability to provide
Suffolk with sufficient design information in a timely manner, Suffolk
and the project have been substantially impacted and delayed,” the
construction company’s lawsuit states.
Suffolk claims it has been damaged by $6 million.
Main Street J, in turn, filed a lawsuit in Sarasota Circuit Court late
last month contending Suffolk failed to submit required paperwork for
payment and perform and complete necessary work on the 1301 Main St.
The 26-unit, mixed-use project downtown is more than a year behind
schedule; it was supposed to be completed no later than October 2015,
documents state. Work on the Jewel began in April 2014.
under the law, developers have two years from the commencement of condominium projects to reach completion
That start date is significant because under the law, developers have
two years from the commencement of condominium projects to reach
completion. If the two-year deadline is not met, unit buyers are
legally able to rescind their commitments to purchase and receive any
deposits that have been submitted.
The average sale price of the Jewel’s residential units was about $3 million
The average sale price of the Jewel’s residential units was about $3
million, which means buyers would have deposited roughly $600,000 to
secure one of the 19 units there. All of the Jewel’s residential units
have been sold, and only a single commercial space remains available,
according to the project’s website.
Sarasota officials issued a “temporary certificate of occupancy” for
the Jewel in July, but work has since stopped on the project and the
building’s units remain unoccupied. A final “certificate of occupancy”
that would signify project completion has yet to be issued.
Suffolk maintains that Hoyt “breached the applicable standard of care”
in designing the project, one of the most prominent new residential
buildings to be built in downtown Sarasota in the past decade.
Brian McElfatrick, a Tampa attorney representing the design firm, says
Hoyt has filed a motion to dismiss the case against the architect that
is pending before the court.
“We believe there is no basis in fact for the allegations,” he says, declining further comment.
Main Street J has also filed a motion to dismiss the Suffolk case, according to the lawsuit.
Neither Main Street J president Tom Mannausa nor attorneys representing
the project returned telephone calls for comment on the lawsuits.
Suffolk attorneys also could not be reached.
In its action against Suffolk, Main Street J states that Suffolk “willfully exaggerated” claims of what it is owed.
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