A partially completed skyscraper in Seattle’s Denny Triangle neighborhood is behind schedule and facing claims from subcontractors who say they haven’t been fully paid.
It’s a blow to a project that has drawn attention for its peculiar design in Seattle: British Columbia-based developer Westbank plans to suspend a disused Boeing 747 between two 47-story towers. The site should include apartments, a Live Nation concert hall and a Trader Joe’s.
But now work on the project has slowed and 11 companies have filed 18 lien claims totaling nearly $35.4 million.
Most of the claims name the project’s general contractor, Graham Construction, the LLC set up by Westbank that owns the site (Project Stewart LLC), or both as debtors. Several name a subcontractor who, in turn, says he was not paid by Graham or Project Stewart.
The developer, contractor and subcontractors have so far said little about the disputes.
A Westbank spokesperson cited “issues” the developer is addressing with Graham – as well as the pandemic, the recent concrete drivers’ strike and supply chain issues – but declined to elaborate on specifics.
Representatives for Graham, which is headquartered in Calgary, Alta., declined to comment. The contractors who filed the complaints either refused or failed to respond.
The filings come as Westbank establishes a growing presence in Seattle. The developer has more apartments on the way near the Frye Art Museum, is building a condo project in Belltown, and recently reached a deal with the Archdiocese of Seattle that is redoing several blocks in First Hill.
At the Denny Triangle project at 1200 Stewart St., lien claims range from $10,000 to more than $8 million each from companies that provide drywall, rebar, window installation and other work, according to county property records.
The claims cover work completed as early as December as well as work that was still in progress when the claims were filed in recent months. Allstar Mechanical filed the largest claim in February for nearly $8.6 million it claims Graham owes. The most recent complaint was filed on Wednesday.
The project near the Frye, at 707 Terry Ave., faces similar issues. Nine companies filed 12 lien claims totaling approximately $5.6 million.
Property tax payments for the first half of this year, due May 2, have still not been paid at 707 Terry, according to county property records.
Westbank spokesman Lorne Richmond cited a range of complications facing both projects, but declined to elaborate.
“The concrete strike, COVID, has only ravaged businesses in downtown Seattle, so it’s taken a lot of tweaking, a lot of shutdowns, a lot of stoppages, a lot of starts,” he said. -he declares. “And in that process, Westbank is working with Graham to try to fix what they can.”
“These are big, complicated projects. We don’t want to be in the pointing finger game,” Richmond said.
Concrete mixer operators had been on strike for several months earlier this year, delaying construction projects in the area. But drivers returned to work without a deal in April and many projects are back.
It is unclear whether Westbank and Graham will remain partners. Another contractor, Build Group, replaced Graham on the Belltown condo project. At 707 Terry, several Build Group logos could be seen this week.
Richmond said Westbank plans to “activate” the projects, but could not provide estimated dates for their completion. The developer still plans to include the Boeing jet on the site, according to Richmond and recent permitting documents filed with the city of Seattle.
Liens are part of a multi-step process that can lead to the forced sale of assets to pay off debts, but in most cases disputes are settled instead, said Magnus Andersson, a Bellevue lawyer specializing in in building privileges and did not speak specifically of Westbank projects.
Andersson said he’s seen an increase in the use of liens on construction projects in recent years, “but far from all projects have to deal with it.”
So far, none of the companies that have filed liens this year on Westbank projects appear to have taken the next step by going to court to seize liens, according to King County Superior Court records.
Under state law, they have eight months after filing the petition to file a lawsuit in court.
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Post expires at 5:02am on Tuesday June 21st, 2022