The Real Deal Miami

BrickellHouse’s condo association runs into another snag in robotic garage predicament

Association is seeking more damages as some unit owners may be left without a parking space

August 30, 2016 05:15PM
By Francisco Alvarado

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Brickell House and Harvey Hernandez

The parking woes at Harvey Hernandez’s BrickellHouse project are about to get worse, according to an attorney representing the building’s unit owners.

“The condo association has been left with this mess,” lawyer Helio de la Torre told The Real Deal. “We have to clean up this mess.”

On Aug. 23, de la Torre’s client, BrickellHouse Condominium Association, filed an amended lawsuit against Hernandez, his company BrickellHouse Holding LLC and Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company, seeking additional damages for the possibility that some condo owners may be left without a parking space if the building’s troublesome robotic parking garage is replaced with a new system.

The association initially sued the developer in January and amended its complaint three times in March to add more counts regarding the failure of the the 374-unit building’s robotic parking garage. Court documents allege buyers were promised South Florida’s first fully automated parking system that would deliver their vehicles in and out of the building without drivers inside the cars.

Instead, the system was rife with problems such as operating so slowly that sometimes it too more than two hours to retrieve cars, the lawsuit alleges. The condo association also alleged that the system would often stall and malfunction and would only work properly under constant staff supervision. Boomerang Systems, the company that made the system, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and its contract with the condo association to operate the garage was terminated by a judge.

In the latest development, de la Torre told TRD that BrickellHouse‘s garage was supposedly built to hold 480 vehicles. However, the association is looking to replace the Boomerang system with a different system from another vendor, de la Torre said.

“At this point, we know that any replacement may result in less than 480 vehicles,” he said. “That means we have to face a situation where certain owners will be directly impacted. There are going to be tough choices to make.”

Ronald Lowy, an attorney representing Hernandez, said the association is making a mistake by trying to replace the Boomerang system instead of fixing it. He said the problem lies with the proprietary software the company installed to operate the garage.

“The software needs to be adapted by somebody else,” he said. “Either you pay the bankruptcy trustee for their proprietary use of the Boomerang software or you have to create separate software to make it operate effectively.”

Lowy insisted there are no construction defects in the garage. “There is not a thing wrong with the garage,” Lowy said. “They are seeking to recreate it by starting from scratch, which is an unnecessary expense. No one is going to offer them a cheap fix and they are refusing to allow us to fix it.”