The Real Deal Miami

Brickell City Centre general contractor sues subcontractor over alleged shoddy construction

Suit centers around drywall and metal framing for office, residential and hotel portions

May 27, 2016 03:45PM
By Sean Stewart-Muniz

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Brickell City Center

Brickell City Centre

While Brickell City Centre is steaming toward a fall completion date this year, it seems a legal drama has unfolded between two of the project’s contractors.

Americaribe-Moriarty, the contractor overseeing vertical construction, has filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court against subcontractor Zarrella Construction, seeking damages in excess of $2.5 million over alleged shoddy construction.

The suit centers around Zarrella’s performance at Brickell City Centre, where it was brought on by Americaribe-Moriarty to install drywall and metal framing in the development’s office, residential and hotel portions — though it’s not clear exactly how much of those sections were Zarrella’s responsibility. A copy of the builder’s contract attached to the suit shows it was to be paid nearly $7.5 million for its services.

The conflict began when Americaribe-Moriarty discovered faulty drywall and metal framework installations made by Zarrella, according to the suit. The suit then says Zarrella didn’t pony up the resources to fix the issues, and Americaribe-Moriarty had to hire other firms to “mitigate damages.”

Besides replacing the faulty installations, Americaribe-Moriarty justifies its pursuit of $2.5 million in damages in the suit by saying it fell behind schedule and had to hire consultants, engineers and lawyers to correct the issue. The lawsuit also alleges negligence and a fraudulent and “exaggerated” lien placed by Zarrella on the project.

Requests for comment to Swire Properties, Americaribe-Moriarty’s legal counsel and Zarrella were not immediately returned. Neither Swire Properties nor Brickell City Centre itself were named as parties in the suit. Americaribe-Moriarty is a joint-venture between construction firms Americaribe and John Moriarty & Associates, which was formed specifically for this project.

The suit is a surprising turn of events for Brickell City Centre, which recently announced that the long-awaited opening date for its retail portions will be November of this year. Reach, the first of its two condo towers, and EAST, its hotel, have already opened.