In 2011, the Artecity complex of condominiums near Collins Park in Miami Beach was completed, despite the developer filing for bankruptcy amid an avalanche of lawsuits. Six years later, the unit owners are now taking the developer, Artecity Park LLC, and eight firms involved in Artecity’s construction to court.
According to a lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court last month, the condominium associations for the Artecity north and south towers allege Artecity Park; architecture firm Arquitectonica; general contractors Soares da Costa CS, Buildtech Group and Connors and Gaskin Unlimited; and four subcontractors are responsible for widespread construction defects that were not discovered until after the project was finished.
Artecity consists of the two towers and a converted Art Deco apartment building that have a combined 200 units. The complex takes up two-thirds of an entire city block at 2100 Park Avenue in South Beach, near the Setai Resort and Condominium and the W South Beach.
“There are some issues with the property that we feel are best addressed through litigation to protect our clients’ best interests,” said Gary Mars, the attorney for the condo associations.
Connor and Gaskins co-founder and COO Craig Gaskins told The Real Deal he fully expects his firm to be dropped from the lawsuit. He explained that Connor and Gaskins took over construction management after Soares and Buildtech left the project when it was close to completion.
“Connor and Gaskins was hired to punch out the buildings and achieve certificate of occupancies for both buildings, which we did,” Gaskins said, adding that only two of the defect claims in the lawsuit apply to his company. “Connor and Gaskins is scheduled to walk the towers with the a owners’ representative next week to finalize and bring closure to the claim,” he said.
Artecity Park principal Claudio Benedetti of Bologna, Italy, declined comment. A representative for Arquitectonica did not immediately respond to a voicemail message seeking comment and Soares da Costa and Buildtech executives could not be reached.
The condo associations accuse Artecity Park and the building firms of negligence and violations of Florida’s building code. Some of the construction defects include cracks and water intrusion along common area walls and doors, poorly installed and defective doors for the main entrance lobbies, defective air conditioning units and refrigerators, and improperly installed bathroom sinks, among dozens of other problems.
In July 2010, Artecity Park and six-different related entities filed for bankruptcy protection after the construction lender filed a $45 million foreclosure lawsuit.